Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching

EU scientific body confirms stronger measures are needed to protect dolphins and porpoises from death in nets

The expert body that provides scientific advice to the European Commission on the management of...
A magical sperm whale encounter

Can space technology tell us how many whales there are?

This exciting project is part of Deloitte's Gravity Challenge, a global programme that encourages corporates,...
minke whale breaching

Norway urged to abandon plans to experiment on captured whales

WDC has teamed up with the Animal Welfare Institute and NOAH (Norway's largest NGO for...
Dolphin disturbance

Environment Minister backs WDC public awareness drive to prevent dolphin disturbance

Whilst we have been locked in as a result of the pandemic nature has reclaimed...

Fossil discovery suggests ancient whale hunted other whales

New findings published this week suggest an ancient whale that lived millions of years ago may have included the young of another whale species as prey.

Discovered in 2010 the whale, known as Basilosaurus isis, lived during the late Euocene period around 35 million years ago. Up to 18 metres in length, it had a long snout and sharp teeth and was the largest whale in existence at the time. Fossil remains of the whale were discovered in Egypt’s Wadi Al-Hitan, which translates from Arabic as Whale Valley. The area is famous for the wide array of whale fossils found there. During the Euocene period the now dry valley was part of a shallow sea inhabited by a rich variety of marine life.

Along with the remains of various sharks and fish found near the fossils were the bones of a smaller species of ancient whale called Dorudon atrox. As well as some adults, many of the Dorudon fossils were from younger whales suggesting the area may have been used as a calving area. Skulls of some of these whales showed signs of bite marks indicating the younger ones were a likely prey for Basilosaurus isis

In modern whales, some types of orcas and false killer whales are known to prey on other whale and dolphin species.

For the full report:
Voss M, Antar MSM, Zalmout IS, Gingerich PD (2019)
Stomach contents of the archaeocete Basilosaurus isis: Apex predator in oceans of the late Eocene.
PLoS ONE 14(1): e0209021. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209021

George Berry

About George Berry

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