Teeth, Ear Bones Found In Swiss Alps, Experts Say Belong To Prehistoric Dolphins

The paleontology department examined over 300 different fossils of whales and dolphins

Researchers in Switzerland have found the remains of two previously unknown species of Dolphin in the mountain range of the Alps within its borders. These two species inhabited the landlocked mountainous country over 20 million years ago.

According to the study conducted by the University of Zurich, Switzerland at that time was part of an island landscape populated by fish, sharks and dolphins, with mussels and sea urchins on the seabed. The paleontology department has examined over 300 different fossils of whales and dolphins from this period.

According to a press release from the university, “The major natural history and paleontology collections in Switzerland mostly contain fragments of teeth, vertebrae and ear bones that were found in the Upper Marine Molasse, indicating that strong currents dragged the animal skeletons across the ocean floor and scattered the bones.”

“For research purposes, the most interesting remains are the bones from the inner ear, as they allow individual species to be classified. The problem is that these types of bones are less commonly found.”

Paleontologist Gabriel Aguirre, talking about the above mentioned problems, summarised the entire study and said, “Nevertheless, we managed to identify two families of dolphins previously unknown in Switzerland.”

Scientists at the university were able reconstruct organs around the bones in the ear to create 3D models of the ears. Gabriel Aguirre stated that this helped better analyse the hearing ability of the dolphins.

The study was even be able to conclude that these two new dolphin species were related to sperm whales and oceanic dolphins present today.



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