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Image: Peter Flood

Biden Administration Sinks Emergency Petition to Shield Right Whale Moms, Calves From Vessel Strikes

Image: Peter Flood For Immediate Release, January 20, 2023 WASHINGTON- The National Marine Fisheries Service...
A whale swims underwater while white text to the left of the whale says "AmazonSmile does make an impact to charities"

Amazon Announces End of AmazonSmile Program

Amazon announced on January 19th, 2023 that it is ending its AmazonSmile donation program by...
An orca lies in the surf as people look at it.

Orca Found Dead on Florida Beach

Credit: Flagler County Sheriff's Office On January 11th, a 21-foot-long female orca died after stranding...
A fluke of a North Atlantic right whale lifts out of the water

WDC Fights Back as Maine Delegation Strips Protections for Endangered Whales

Image credit: Peter Flood UPDATE: On December 29th, 2022, President Biden signed the omnibus appropriations...

Toothed ancestor of baleen whales discovered

Scientists in the US have unearthed the fossil of a new species of ancient whale, thought to have lived around 30 million years ago.

What makes this discovery particularly noteworthy is that it is one of the oldest ancestors of baleen whales ever discovered but unlike its modern relatives, it possessed teeth. In addition, it is also one of the smallest whales ever found at around 2 – 2.5 metres long.

Named Fucaia buelli, the fossil was found on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, USA. The discovery is helping scientists work out how baleen whales may have evolved. It is thought this whale may have sucked its prey further into its mouth after capturing it with its teeth. It may have had large gums and over time might have developed greater use of suction feeding (as seem in modern gray whales), and lost the need for teeth as it evolved to hunt smaller and smaller prey, leading to the eventual use of baleen instead.

A new Early Oligocene toothed ‘baleen’ whale (Mysticeti: Aetiocetidae) from western North America: one of the oldest and the smallest
Felix G. Marx, Cheng-Hsiu Tsai, R. Ewan Fordyce
The Royal Society