Saturday, 24 Aug 2019

Basilosaurus, ancient whale that ate other whales as their prey


BasilosaurusBasilosaurus - Millions of years ago, there was a frightening creature in the ocean, which experts called Basilosaurus, which means “king lizard”. Basilosaurus had curved body like a snake. Despite being called “king lizard”, it was actually the ancestor of the modern whale.

Recently, an excavation in Egypt revealed Basilosaurus’ last meal. It indicates that Basilosaurus had been a predator during its times.

Paleontologists found a specimen that was 15 meters long. It was identified to be another ancient whale, Dorudon atrox. The bones of this ancient whale were found inside the body of Basilosaurus. The bite mark found on the Darudon atrox’s bone further indicates that Darudon atrox had been the prey of Basilosaurus.

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Other than the findings of another whale’s bones inside its body, another indication that Basilosaurus was a predator is its teeth. Unlike most whales, Basilosaurus had jagged teeth.

The research leader, Dr. Manja Voss from Natural History Museum Berlin said that these findings are proofs that Basilosaurus was a high predator that ate its preys directly. Other than eating other whales like Darudon atrox, Basilosaurus is also known to eat other smaller fish.

Basilosaurus lived around 40 to 35 million years ago, at the end of Eocene period. Other than in Egypt, the fossils were also found in Louisiana, United States.

When it was first found, it was thought that Basilosaurus was a giant reptile. But further studies rejected that theory and revealed that it was part of the whale family.

Researchers deem Basilosaurus as the biggest ocean animal during its time period. A study done by Dr. Voss and other researcher indicates that its appearance was similar to modern killer whales or Orcas.


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