Posted in: Animal News

‘Extinct’ Whale Found: Rare Pygmy Right Whale Is The Last Survivor Of An Ancient Species

Extinct whale found

The pygmy right whale has fascinated scientists since its discovery in the 1800s. It’s an uncommon sight, and its peculiar arched, frown-like snout is unlike any other whale alive today.

According to new research, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the reason that the pygmy right whale stands out so much might be that it’s the last survivor in a group of whales that are believed to have gone extinct roughly 2 million years ago.

“The living pygmy right whale is, if you like, a remnant, almost like a living fossil,” explains Felix Marx, a paleontologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand. “It’s the last survivor of quite an ancient lineage that until now no one thought was around.”

Pygmy right whales are known to roam the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere, but very little data has been collected on them. It’s believed that they grow no longer than 21 feet long, which makes it the smallest of all the baleen whales.

Researchers say that, upon looking at the creature’s skull, it became clear that it more closely resembled a group of whales called cetotheres, which first appeared 15 million years ago before going extinct 13 million years later.

The findings help explain how pygmy whales evolved and may also help shed light on how these ancient “lost” whales lived. The new information is also a first step in reconstructing the ancient lineage all the way back to the point when all members of this group first diverged, he said, according to Live Science.

The news comes a day after researchers from the University of Georgia and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary announced the discovery of a five-foot-long bone belonging to an Atlantic gray whale, which is believed to have gone extinct at some point after the 1700s.

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19 Responses to “‘Extinct’ Whale Found: Rare Pygmy Right Whale Is The Last Survivor Of An Ancient Species”

  1. Joseph W Surrette Jr

    does anyone else wonder "if our current whales evolved from this one , why are we now finding this whale?" Is it not more likely that the other species died off and never evolved to start with? is this not proof that our whales did not evolve from this whale…i mean it's here…alive…and not mid evolved…..but I guess our scientists are so smart. I mean they did after all find a whale they deemed an extinct evolutionary link.

  2. Curt Pangracs

    Hint: A Whale cannot be referred to as "extinct" if you found one. The Inquisitor should send their writers to a course or two…

  3. Curt Pangracs

    Wait a second…are you telling me that scientists have made a mistake and we can no longer blindly trust what they tell us?

    Here's my shocked face…WHAAAA?

  4. Anonymous

    would that be proof of evolution never happens and there is many spices that are not with us no more, would that include the cave man and dinosaurs or what scientist believe that we come from a "monkey" and we evolve to "humans".

  5. Soulless Ginger

    Idiot. The scientific method is a way to keep furthering our knowledge. Science never claims to know everything, but they do further knowledge continuously, as opposed to being a close minded troglodyte that believes whatever mommy and daddy say blindly…or the media, or what have you. Considering the world is 70% water and that we can not go to great depths like certain species can, it's not surprising that we see creatures we believed to be extinct wash up from time to time. Like the coelacanth. But if you don't trust what they tell you, g'head and chop off your hand and pray it grows back. See how far that gets you.

  6. TJ McKowen

    well evolution makes more sense then some old ass dude floating in the clouds, named god, judging you for everything you do.

  7. Gene Cole

    If it's the last survivor of a group of whales thought to have gone extinct 2 million years ago, wouldn't that make this whale roughly, say, 2 million years old? I'm going to have to call bullshit on that one.

  8. Jim Comfort

    TJ McKowen : He has apparently judged you already. He has left you lacking in most departments.

  9. Anonymous

    Ummm? Excuse me? If it's EXTINCT (as the headline clearly states) how could it be FOUND?

  10. Jacob Burns

    Evolution doesn't happen to every single animal out of the species all at once. It happens by mutation. Maybe this whales ancestors never mated with anyone with the mutation of the whales we see today.

    Think about this, Let's say you are white and you marry a black girl. You guys would have a mixed baby. Just because that baby is half black, half white, doesn't mean every baby in the world turns that color. If in a million years 99.999999% of humans are all the same color because of mixing races, there is still that 0.000001% whose family never mixed races.

  11. Hoang Tran

    Where was this whale found? Tuesday morning a whale was found on our beach dead. I live on matagorda beach. I find it odd that several whales have been washing ashore dead. Oh btw matagorda is in Texas. We don't have whales in our water.