Scientists have found a carcass of a Basilosaurus whale that appeared to have eaten another smaller whale. The researchers said that both whales looked like it was subsequently eaten by sharks.The 40 million-year-old whale measuring about 60 feet in length was found in the historic "Valley of the Whales" in Egypt.
As the researchers continued their investigation, more and more marine species were discovered in the Basilosaurus. Aside from the smaller whale, sawfish and crabs were also found. It was not confirmed, however, whether the smaller whale was a fetus or a prey. Surrounding the bigger whale's body were remnants of shark's teeth, suggesting that the big whale was not the final predator in the scene.
Basilosaurus, or "lizard king," was originally regarded as a marine reptile when it was first discovered by Richard Halen in the 1830s, according to records from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
These ancient whales possessed characteristics, such as smaller brains, marrow-filled vertebrae and eel-like structures, which make them significantly distinct from modern whales. Their unique vertebrae, for one, allowed them to swim near the surface of the water, unlike most whales that settle under the waves.
The skeleton of the Basilosaurus found is said to be the only skeleton of its kind in the world that does not lack any part, said Dr. Khaled Fahmy, minister of environment.
The excavation team also observed that the teeth of the Basilosaurus have hints of wear and tear, indicating that the creature chewed its prey before ingesting it fully. The researchers believe that the teeth of the said whale could smash a skull with great force amounting to about 3,527 pounds.
The Valley of the Whales is located in Fayoum in southwest Cairo. The place serves as a dwelling of valuable whale fossils. The site is where the animals were thought to have lived. The fossils found in the valley will soon be featured in a museum that is yet to open in Fayoum, said Fahmy.
Also known as Wadi al-Hitan, the place was acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site 10 years ago. Fossils of other sea creatures were also found here, including turtles and crocodile. The different fossils discovered have given experts information to further their research about marine life and its evolution.