Fossil of 36 Million-Year-Old ‘Sea Monster’ Found in Desert
In Peru, scientists introduced a whale fossil dating back 36 million years.
“The fossil belongs to a Peruvian basilosaurus that lived 36 million years ago,” paleontologist Mario Urbina of San Marcos National University in the capital city of Lima said in a statement on Thursday.
Researchers named the fossil unearthed from dry rocks in the Ocucaje Desert in the Ica region in late 2021, the “Ocucaje Hunter”.
The scientists said this desert was a shallow sea millions of years ago and the sand dunes contain the remains of many primitive marine mammals.
According to the researchers, the “Ocucaje Hunter” was a mammal about 17 meters long, which used its huge and powerful teeth to feed on sharks, sardines and tuna, and is the ancestor of today’s whales.
“This discovery is very important because no similar examples have ever been found in the world,” said Urbina.
Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, one of the research team, said that the “Ocucaje Hunter” differed from other archaic whale species in terms of its size and the development of its teeth, and it was most likely at the top of the food chain.
Scientists think the Basilosaurus creature was related to modern dolphins and porpoises (Reuters)
“It was a sea monster,” said Salas-Gismondi, head of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum in Lima. He was definitely doing a lot of damage around while he was looking for food.
At that time, the Peruvian sea was warmer. “Thanks to such fossils, we can also reconstruct the history of the Peruvian sea,” he said.
Salas-Gismondi said the archaic whale whose fossil was found was one of the biggest predators of its time (Reuters)
Scientists think that the first marine mammals evolved from land-dwelling mammals about 55 million years ago, 10 million years after the asteroid impact event that ended almost all life on Earth, including the dinosaurs.