Feeds

MEGA DINO-WHALE from 'Valley of the Whales' exhibited

Boffins unlock secrets of land-walking, legged proto-moby

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Bone-griffling boffins in the States are chuffed to announce their new and magnificent, fully assembled 50-foot-long prehistoric carnivorous dinomegawhale fossil.

The mighty Basilosaurus isis was discovered along with more than a thousand other aeons-dead whale skeletons in an area of Egyptian desert known as the "Valley of the Whales".

Basilosaurus Isis concept pic. Credit: UM

Learned to swim after it could walk.

“It’s a spectacular fossil,” said museum director Amy Harris, in charge of the whale exhibit in Michigan. “Basilosaurus looks ferocious with its big teeth, and we hope people will spend a lot of time looking at it, studying it and reading about it. The Exhibit Museum tells the story of life on Earth, and when museum visitors see Basilosaurus, they’ll be able to see evidence for whale evolution, which is one of the more interesting stories in evolution.”

According to paleontologist Philip Gingerich, whales are descended from land-dwelling life forms which began going back into the sea to scoff abundant fish and gradually became fully aquatic. Basilosaurus offers evidence to back this up, as the fossilized skeleton has vestigial legs.

The fossil from which the museum exhibit is derived was originally discovered by Gingerich and his colleagues way back in 1987. However, it wasn't until other researches revealed the chance that it had legs that the prof decided to come back to the "Valley of the Whales" in 2005 to excavate the whole thing.

Basilosaurus itself couldn't walk on land: its legs had become far to weak to support it. But Professor Gingerich has also discovered other skeletons of earlier, land-walking whales in Pakistan. Following years spent getting permission to take the whale fossils out of Egypt and then cleaning plaster protective jackets and four tonnes of sediment off the finds, Basilosaurus (actually a lightweight copy of the fossil itself) now hangs high in the University of Michigan's museum exhibition hall.

Gingerich says he's "thrilled" to finally see the mighty dino-whale on display. To help cover the costs of the operation, the museum has a "buy a bone" campaign under which people can pay to individually sponsor a bone in the fossil.

"We’re encouraging people to give a bone for the holidays—it’s an exciting and unusual gift idea. There’s no limit of sponsors per bone," enthuses Harris.

You can learn more about "Buy a Bone" and the history of whales here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.