All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey – which means it’s time for the Geological Society of America annual meeting. A couple of days packed with discussions and research presentations about stuff you did not know in … Continue reading →
Beluga whales and narwhals live solely in the cold waters of the Arctic and sub-arctic. Smithsonian scientists, however, found that this may not have always been the case. They recently described a new species of toothed whale and close relative to today’s belugas and narwhals that lived some 3-4 million years ago during the Pliocene in warm water regions.
Beluga whale, narwhal and Pliocene relative Bohaskaia monodontoides shown in artist impression by Carl Buell
Sirenians, or seacows, are a group of marine mammals that include manatees and dugongs; today, only one species of seacow is found in each world region. Smithsonian scientists have discovered that this was not always the case. According to the fossil record of these marine mammals, which dates back 50 million years ago, it was more common to find three, or possibly more, different species of seacows living together at one time. This suggests that the environment and food sources for ancient seacows were also different than today. The team’s findings are published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Sirenians, or seacows, a group of marine mammals that include manatees and dugongs. It was more common to find three or more different species of seacows living together at one time. Image credit: Carl Buell.