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Finding an animal inside another animal does not have to be weird, think about snakes, for example. However, finding a whale, a priori serene creatures, inside another giant whale that inhabited the planet 35 million years ago, is another thing .
This is precisely what happened with the remains discovered in Wadi Al-Hitan, translated from Arabic as “Valley of the Whales“, southwest of Cairo in Egypt. This place is a World Heritage Site due to the number of fossils of ancient whales, all incredible, found in the area.
Although the valley is dry now, in the Eocene, about 35 million years ago, it was a shallow sea with all kinds of marine creatures frequenting the area. In this scenario fossils are also not usually hard to find, sometimes their bones are on the surface exposed by erosion.
Discovered in 2010, the specimen of whale in question of 15 meters ( Basilosaurus isis ). In the late Eocene, this giant whale roamed the oceans, fed on large fish and, according to new evidence, even other smaller whales of ancient times called Dorudon atrocious .
Therefore, and according to the new study, B. isis was a fearsome and immense creature, in fact, they have found specimens of the whopping 15 to 18 meters in length. To give us an idea, the orcas are between 5 and 7 meters long and the humpback whales vary from 13 to 16 meters.
When this fossil of B. isis was found , it was unearthed along with other fossils, from sharks, large bony fishes and juvenile whales. Now, the new examination of the skeletons in the area gave a clearer and more shocking conclusion: the first direct evidence of the diet of B. isis , including D. Atrox . According to the researchers from the University of Michigan and the Department of Geology and Paleontology of Egypt, they explain:
These observations led to the idea that the late Eocene sea that covered what is now Wadi Al Hitan was a feeding area for the predatory Basilosaurus.
“We found the remains of the atrox Dorudon and large fish as stomach contents in a skeleton of Basilosaurus isis. So, instead of being scavengers, they were probably predators in the same way as today’s killer whales, “the researchers say.