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27.5 Million Year Old Baleen Whale Species Found in New Zealand

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A team of researchers from the University of Otago has named the new species of whales as ‘Toipahautea Waitaki’. The researchers have found 27.5 million years old fossil on the South Island of New Zealand. They have conducted the in-depth study of fossil found 30 years ago in 1988. The scientists are of the view that these blue whales had lived about 33.9 to 23 million years ago. In those days New Zealand was an island surrounded by shallow waters. The team of researchers who have studied the fossil says that the blue whale is an old one. They also say that those blue whales were smaller in size than the blue whales of today.

The fossil of a blue whale is only 19 feet in length. This is half the size of a modern minke whale. Here, it is worth mentioning that fossil record of most of the animals show that they had giants in the past. But, in case of blue whales, the forefathers were not large in size. The scientists are of the view that whales have achieved this large size in recent geological times. The study of fossils of baleen whale also shows that those had a toothless jaw. Instead, they used to fees using plates of baleen. Modern whales are filter-feeding marine giants.

The study of fossils further reveals that old whales had teeth like modern sperm whales. With the passage of time, some species lost their teeth. There developed baleen plates in their mouth. These plates helped whales to filter small prey. Fordyce is the lead researcher of the team. The National Geography Society had asked him to study the fossils whales in New Zealand about 30 years ago. They have come up with various results about this research over the period of time. The study also shows that early whales were more diverse as compared to present day whales.

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