Scientists solve mystery of whale graveyard in Chile

Last Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 18:10

Zee Media Bureau

London: Scientists claim to have solved the mystery of an ancient fossilised graveyard of whales discovered about three years ago in Chile.

The fossils found during a road-widening project in Chile’s Atacama Desert along the Pan-American Highway has been one of the most astonishing fossil discoveries of recent years.

The study carried out by a team of Chilean and Smithsonian Institution scientists and published in the journal proceedings of the Royal Society B, explains why so many of the animals came to be preserved in one location more than five million years ago.
They said it was the result of not one but four separate mass strandings.

The evidence strongly suggests the whales all ingested toxic algae, the BBC reported.

The dead and dying mammals were then washed into an estuary and on to flat sands where they became buried over time.

Their bones could be seen sticking out of rock faces, and the spot acquired the name Cerro Ballena ("whale hill") as a result.
The fossils were first found by highway construction workers in 2010.

With Agency Inputs



First Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 18:10

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