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Fossil skull of an extinct toothed whale excavated from Panamanian sediments

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A scientist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute uses a pick to dislodge the fossil skull of an extinct toothed whale from sediments on the Panamanian Coast near the town of Piña. Researchers from STRI and the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History encased the skull in a plaster cast to protect it before removal. The fossil likely represents one of the youngest occurrences of a squalodontid, (a prehistoric shark-toothed dolphin) and certainly the first one from the Caribbean, says Nick Pyenson, curator at the Natural History Museum.  Click this Ocean Portal link to read Pyenson’s blog on the find and see a short video of the excavation. (Photo by Aaron O’Dea)

 

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