Matsue: Fossils collected and kept by a
clam fisherman in western Japan have been found to be the back
and jaw bones of whales that lived about 13 million years ago,
local researchers said.
Takeo Kanesaka, an 86-year-old freshwater clam fisherman,
had gathered about a dozen pieces of what he described as
"strange bones" from the bottom of Lake Shinji over the last
20 years and kept them at his home.
Belatedly he took them to a Shimane prefectural nature
museum in July on the advice of an acquaintance, and an
analysis has found that the fossils came from a sea mammal
belonging to the baleen whale group, researchers at the
facility said yesterday.
Shigenori Kawano, a researcher at another Shimane natural
history museum, said the find proves the lake was part of what
is the Sea of Japan and was deep enough for whales to live in
some 13 million years ago.
Discoveries of similar whale bone fossils have been
reported from several locations in Japan but this was the
first from Lake Shinji, a brackish lake known as a major site
for freshwater clam fisheries in the country.