Published On: Tue, Sep 16th, 2014

Fossils of Ancient ‘Toothy’ Dolphin Discovered at the Desert in Peru

All that people know now about the Pisco-Ica desert is that it is simply a desert full of sand and dust and that it extends alongside the coast at the southern part of Peru. Nevertheless, some sixteen million years ago or even more, the desert might have been a beautiful water territory that was even home to admirable animals, such as the squalodelphinids, a dolphin family that is now believed to have been extinct from the earth. At least, this is what a number of paleontologists believe after they have come across fossils of the aforementioned species at the now-deserted spot of Peru. According to these paleontologists, Peru has, after all, always been a paradise for those trying to search for some ancient fossils. Before the discovery of the fossils of the now-extinct dolphin family, other amazing things had also been discovered, including a walrus-like dolphin and a reportorial sperm whale, which was believed to have a giant size.

Desert of Peru

Yet, speaking of their most recent discovery, the dolphin fossils, the paleontologists claim that they have found fossils of three of these species altogether. Among the three, two of the fossils have a skull that is very well preserved. Based on the skeletal analysis, the paleontologists are now convinced that the rare dolphins they came across are somehow related to the dolphins which are currently trying to survive in the water of the Southeast Asia. The paleontologists, in this case, are speaking of the endangered dolphin species that inhabit the River Ganges and Indus in India.

Unlike most of the other dolphins out there, these river inhabiting dolphins are very rare and hard to find. According to Jonathan Geisler, an associate anatomy professor from the New York Institute of Technology, one can tell when they come across such a rare dolphin from its narrow and long body, in addition to its small eyes and toothy beak. According to the professor, this dolphin species has rather poor eyesight.

Nonetheless, according to an associate biology professor from the University of California, which is situated at the Riverside, John Gatesy, the fossils discovered by the paleontologists at the Peru desert have nothing to do with the river dolphins. The professor even claims that the three dolphins were actually of their own kind, their own lineages. According to Gatesy, it is uncommon to come across a dolphin swimming in the freshwater to date. As such, the animals must have managed to adapt to the freshwater condition instead, resulting in an entirely new dolphin lineage.

As it turns out, fossils of such rare and adorable animals have been found at other places, too, other than the Peru desert. As a matter of fact, researchers have recently come across fossils of dolphins that have about the medium size. These fossils have been discovered at a number of places, including the US East Coast, Italy, Argentina, and France as well. According to Geisler, marine animals, such as dolphins, porpoises and also tooth whales diverged some twenty four million years ago, during the early era of the Miocene epoch. As a result, their fossils have now become unbelievably priceless.

After having analyzed the fossils they discovered, the paleontologists are now capable of identifying that the dolphins were of the Huaridelphis raimondii family. This dolphin family was known to exist between A.D. 500 and A.D. 1000. It was past the era of the ancient Huari. In the name of the species family, the term ‘delphis’ is actually a Latin word used to represent what people know as ‘dolphins’ in English. Yet, as for the raimondii, the term was given to pay homage to a scientist from Italy, Antonio Raimondi, the founder the whale fossils in Peru.

As it turns out, there is an abundant amount of fossils in the Peru desert. That said, it may not be long before the scientists or paleontologists come up with yet other fossils, most likely of a now extinct species.

About the Author

- Rana is a active contributor and moderator of and authors of Ebulletin News websites.I love to explore science and Technology news.