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Latest Erich Fitzgerald Stories

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2011-08-18 05:20:00

Scientists have identified a critical step in the evolution of filter-feeding whales' enormous mouths. These whales, otherwise known as baleen whales or mysticetes, have feeding adaptations that are unique among mammals, in that they can filter small marine creatures from huge volumes of water.  The whales accomplish this by using their "loose" lower jaw joints, which enable them to produce a vast filter-feeding gape. A new study of this ancient jawbone has overturned a long-held belief...

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2009-12-22 14:43:56

Museum Victoria palaeobiologist Dr Erich Fitzgerald has made new groundbreaking discoveries into the origin of baleen whales, based on a 25 million year old fossil found near Torquay in Victoria. Dr Fitzgerald's study, which is published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, is centered on Mammalodon colliveri, a primitive toothed baleen whale, one of a group of whales that includes the largest animal ever to have lived, the blue whale. Although Mammalodon was discovered in 1932...

2006-08-15 18:05:00

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - A ferocious-looking fossil with sharp teeth found in Australia shows that ancestors of today's toothless blue whales were not all "gentle giants," a report said on Wednesday. The 25 million-year-old fossil is of an early type of baleen whale, a group including modern humpback whales, minke whales and blue whales that feed via baleen, comb-like plates in their mouths that filter plankton from sea water. "This bizarre, new baleen...


Word of the Day
cenobite
  • One of a religious order living in a convent or in community; a monk: opposed to anchoret or hermit (one who lives in solitude).
  • A social bee.
This word comes from the Latin 'coenobium,' convent, which comes from the Greek 'koinobios,' living in community.
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