THE REMAINS OF A WHALE HAVE BEEN FOUND INSIDE ANOTHER GIANT WHALE THAT LIVED 35 MILLION YEARS AGO
Finding an animal inside of another animal is not always surprising, but it is if we're talking about a whale, which theoretically seems like a docile creature, inside another giant whale that inhabited the planet 35 million years ago.
This is what happened in the "Valley of the Whales," or Wadi Al-Hitan, to the southeast of Cairo, Egypt. The place has been designated a World Heritage site due to the large quantity of incredible prehistoric whale fossils found in the area.
In the Eocene epoch, approximately 35 million years ago, the zone was a a shallow sea with varied marine life. Given this scenario, the fossils are not hard to find, sometimes the bones are even on the surface, exposed to wind erosion.
Discovered in 2010, the whale specimen was 15 meters long, the Basilosaurus isis. In the late Eocene epoch, this giant whale roamed the oceans, feeding on large fish and, according to new evidence, also feeding on other smaller, prehistoric whales called the Dorudon artox.
According to the new study, B. isis was an awe-inspiring, immense creature. In fact, they have found specimens that measure a whopping 14 to 18 meters in length. To give us some perspective, killer whales measure between 5 and 7 meters in length and humpback whales very between 13 and 16 meters.
When the fossil of the B. isis was found, it was unearthed close to other fossils, among them sharks, large bony fish and juvenile whales. Now, the new examination of the skeletons in the area gives a clearer and creepier conclusion: the first direct evidence that the D. atrox was included in the diet of the B. isis. According to the explanation of the investigators at the University of Michigan and the Department of Geology and Paleontology of Egypt.
These observations led them to the idea that the sea of the late Eocene epoch, which covered what is now Wadi Al-Hitan, was a feeding place for the predatory Basilosaurus.
"We found the remains of the Dorudon atrox and of large fish as stomach contents in the skeleton of the Basilosaurus isis. So instead of being scavengers, they were probably predators like the killer whales of today," said the investigators.