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Large number of dolphins moved to Abu Dhabi marine park

Up to 24 captive bottlenose dolphins have reportedly been sent to a new SeaWorld theme...
Southern resident orca_CWR_Rob Lott

Success! Removal of last river dams to help threatened orcas in the US

Great news has emerged from the US concerning our work to protect the endangered orca...

More important ocean areas for whales and dolphin protection identified

Scientists and observers from many different countries have identified and mapped 36 new Important Marine...
captive dolphin

Las Vegas dolphin facility to close

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in Las Vegas is to permanently close....

Fossil of modern whales' ancient relative discovered in Peru

Scientists have gained a new insight into the evolution of baleen whales after the discovery of fossil remains from 36 million years ago at Playa Media Luna in Peru.

It was already known that baleen whales, such as blue and humpback whales, shared a common ancestor with toothed whales, which used teeth to grab its prey. The latest discovery appears to be the earliest relative of baleen whales after the branches split in two. The whale, named Mystacodon selensis, was around four metres in length and still had teeth. However, analysis of its skill, jaw and teeth indicates it fed by straining its prey before expelling the water, similar to how baleen whales feed.

One unexpected discovery from this latest fossil find is that it appears to have still had small limbs sticking out from its body. It had previously been thought that both branches of the family tree had lost their limbs during evolution before splitting.

Full report:
Earliest Mysticete from the Late Eocene of Peru Sheds New Light on the Origin of Baleen Whales
Manuel Martínez-Cáceres, Giovanni Bianucci, Claudio Di Celma, Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, Etienne Steurbaut, Mario Urbina, Christian de Muizon
Current Biology

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.