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Teen Finds Whale Skull from 34 Million Years Ago While Fossil Hunting in Alabama

in Animals 153 views

Like many kids, Lindsey Stallworth from Alabama loves a day out to look for sharks’ teeth. But on one such trip, it was a far bigger, far older discovery that awaited her.

Stallworth was with her high school biology teacher, but it was the young student who noticed some small bone fragments embedded in soft rock. Following them up a hill, they turned up the nearly complete skull of a 34-million-year-old whale.

Stallworth has been looking for sharks’ teeth on her family farm since she was little, and after her first biology class at the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile, she learned her new teacher, Andrew Gentry, was a paleontologist.

Showing him a plastic bag of some of the teeth she had found over the years, one in particular caught Gentry’s eye, and he was curious to look in the area where she’d found it.

Not long ago geologically speaking, Alabama was covered in shallow seas, and it’s why Stallworth finds shells and sharks’ teeth nowhere near the beach. She invited Gentry to come along on a fossil hunt on the farm, and it’s where they found the staggering discovery.

“To find one that’s this complete is actually very rare,” Gentry told NBC 15’s Andrea Ramey. “We’re very excited by the fact that we got the majority of the skull out and that there is more of the skeleton left to uncover, which could give us the complete animal.”

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See 1,000 Glorious Fin Whales Feeding Together: Share Their Comeback From Near Extinction

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Sailors and scientists aboard four krill fishing boats and a research vessel were treated to the majestic sight of 1,000 fin whales congregating near Antarctica to feed.

Second only in size to the blue whale, fin whales were once one of the chief targets of whaling vessels—and were driven to near extinction by the practice; they haven’t been seen in these numbers for over a century.

It may be, estimates researcher Conor Ryan, the largest congregation of fin whales ever recorded, and the sea was so dense that day with the 81-foot (27-meter) long slender baleens, their breaching created what Phillip Hoare described as a “misty forest of spouts, as tall as pine trees.”

Ryan, a zoologist aboard the National Geographic Endurance, filmed the whales going about their business as the boat passed around 375 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula, near the South Orkney Islands.

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Whales Once Walked Along the Coasts of North America … Wait, What?

in Animals 612 views

A tooth found nearly fifty years ago has recently been re-examined and found to contain the remains of a land-going whale from an extinct family found only in Pakistan.

A cousin of other walking whales in the family of Remingtonocetidae, it’s the first discovery of this ancient animal in North America, and gives a tantalizing prospect of a potential distribution of these creatures across the entire world.

It’s strange to think that as mega as so many of the dinosaurs became, the largest example of the advantages of enormity to a complex life form is alive with us today in the form of the blue whale.

Yet the whale lineage had to take many twists and turns before it arrived at a blowhole and flippers, which because of its mammalian origin, also involved feet and a long, almost crocodilian snout.

In 1973, a premolar of a new species of walking whale was found at a stone quarry in Castle Hayne, North Carolina.

In 2020, a team of researchers found it matched more closely the fossils found in Pakistan of Remingtonocetidae and not other extinct whale genera that were known to live along the coast of what would become North America.

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