Tuesday, Nov 24th

Last update06:53:33 AM GMT

You are here News Science How old is sonar? Fossilized whale skull puts it at over 32 million years.

How old is sonar? Fossilized whale skull puts it at over 32 million years.

cotylocara maceio

Sperm whales do it. Dolphins do it. Orcas do it. And now, researchers have unveiled the fossilized skull of a 28-million-year-old marine mammal that did it too – used sound to find its next meal or swim safely through turbid waters.

The creature, Cotylocara macei, is the earliest known cetacean to show skeletal evidence for a natural form of sonar, according to a research team reporting the results in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

After comparing the nearly complete skull with those of other fossil cetaceans, the team placed C. macei on the evolutionary tree just above the common ancestor to all toothed cetaceans. That branch of the whale family uses echolocation to find its food, unlike their cousins who feed by straining seawater through boney baleen plates. Right and humpback whales are modern examples of these strainers.

The study "provides an important new piece of information on when echolocation originated, such that it originated almost immediately after the split between baleen whales and toothed whales," notes Frants Jensen, a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., who studies marine echolocation.



Most Recent Related Stories...

Dem accuses GOP chairman of ‘witch hunt’ in climate probe

Dem accuses GOP of climate witch huntThe top Democrat on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is fighting back against what...

Study may have found evidence of alternate, parallel universes

parallel universesAn astrophysicist says he may have found evidence of alternate or parallel universes by looking back...

Earth-like world could be 'most important planet found outside solar system'

earth-like worldA rocky Earth-sized planet that circles a small, nearby star could be the most important world...

Astronomers spot closest, most massive double star i

Cllosest, most massive double starAstronomers have spotted an extreme binary star system. It's closer, hotter and more massive than any...
America's # 1 Enemy
Tee Shirt
& Help Support!
TVNL Tee Shirt
Conserve our Planet
& Help Support!
Get your 9/11 & Media
Deception Dollars
& Help Support!
The Loaded Deck
The First & the Best!
The Media & Bush Admin Exposed!