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Found: A Missing Link in Whale Evolution
An extraordinary 25-million-year-old primitive whale fossil that reveals important clues about whale feeding styles.

Modern whale species can be divided into two major groups depending on their feeding style: the toothed carnivores, such as the killer whale, and those such as the blue whale that use comb-like ‘baleen’ to filter enormous amounts of plankton from seawater.

Baleen is formed from a series of plates made from keratin that hang suspended from the upper jaw, and provide a distinct filtering system to that of teeth.

When this dietary divide occurred in their evolutionary story has long eluded scientists, even from the time of Charles Darwin, due to an incomplete whale fossil record. That is, until now.

A team of researchers from Victoria Museum and Monash University on Tuesday unveiled an extraordinary 25-million-year-old primitive whale fossil that reveals clues about the ancient transition between these two feeding types…

The “dinosaur bones” that you see on display at the Museum aren’t really bones at all. Through the process of fossilization, ancient animal bones are turned into rock. 

Most ancient animals never became fossils. Their carcasses were likely consumed by other organisms, or worn away by wind or water. But sometimes the conditions were right and their remains were preserved. The most common process of fossilization happens when an animal is buried by sediment, such as sand or silt, shortly after it dies. Its bones are protected from rotting by layers of sediment. As its body decomposes all the fleshy parts wear away and only the hard parts, like bones, teeth, and horns, are left behind. Over millions of years, water in the nearby rocks surrounds these hard parts, and minerals in the water replace them, bit by bit. When the minerals have completely replaced the organic tissue, what’s left is a solid rock copy of the original specimen.

Learn more on the Museum’s Dinosaur website

We just got our first batch of large, chocolate Megalodon teeth done.  Just in time for Easter we’ve molded a Megalodon tooth in high quality, dark, milk and white chocolate.  The teeth are just under 5 inches long and contain 4 ounces of chocolate.  Each one is individually packaged along with Megalodon facts & information.

For sale at: https://www.fossilera.com/browse_products

You can find hexagonally-patterned rocks in Petoskey, MI, that are actually fossilized corallites. Petoskey stones were formed during a prehistoric ice age that scattered them to the shores of Lake Michigan. The dark spots were the coral’s mouths, and the tiny lines were tentacles that reached out for food. Source Source 2 Source 3

Awesome Megafauna Skulls!

My last weird and awesome skull post was really popular, so I decided to do one about something else I’m excessively interested in: Megafauna! This isn’t at all a comprehensive list of the coolest ones, not by a long shot, so you should definitely look up some of the BBC docs on Youtube or google ones from your continent!

The cave bear! (N. America)

‘Hell Pigs’ (N. America) Actually entelodonts, unrelated to pigs at all and more closely tied to hippos and cetaceans! Dat sagittal crest amirite

The Stag Moose  @allosauroid brought to my attention that this is the skull of the Irish elk, Megaloceros, not a stag moose! (Eurasia) Which stood 6 foot at the shoulder/withers

Platybelodon (widespread) Google artist renditions of these guys, you won’t be disappointed

Barbourofelis! (N. America) Like a smaller smilodon, with much cooler teeth. Look at those incisors!

Megatherium (S. America) Primitive sloths the size of elephants!

Titanus Walleri (N. America) Other continents had equally large if not larger ‘terror birds’

Paraceratherium (Eurasia) One of the largest terrestrial mammals we’ve ever discovered. It was actually a species of hornless rhino! Google artist recs of these guys, too

Diprotodon (Australia) The largest known marsupial, which was the size of a hippopotamus and stood 6 feet tall

I saved Glyptodon (S. America) for last, because these things have some of the weirdest skulls I’ve ever seen. They were technically armadillos, but reached the size of a Volkswagen Beetle!

George Washington didn’t know dinosaurs existed, but he probably thought giants were real. America’s first president died in 1799, and science didn’t prove the existence of dinosaurs until 1841. Before then, fossilized dino bones were often thought to belong to an extinct race of giant humans. Source Source 2