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Five-million-year-old whale fossil found in Mallorca quarry
14 March 2019 @ 13:14

A FOSSIL of a whale’s head dating back approximately 5.7 million years has been found in a limestone quarry in Santanyí on the island of Mallorca.

The first of its type ever to be found in the so-called ‘chalk strip’ across the Mediterranean, the skull was discovered inside a chunk of stone weighing three-quarters of a metric tonne in a mine near s’Horta, part of the town of Felanitx.

Members of the archaeological team, from the University of the Balearic Islands’ (UIB’s) Earth Sciences Research Group – part of the Faculty of Biology – say there is absolutely no doubt the fossil is that of a skull of a sea creature of the Mysticeti sub-order, which refers to baleen whales, so-named because of the series of baleen plates along their upper jaws which act as a filter system.

This sub-order is also known as ‘whalebone whales’ or ‘great whales’ and, in the case of the head found, shares features typical of the Balaenopteridae family – referred to as ‘rorquals’ and covering the fine whale, humpback whale and the blue whale, which is the largest species on earth and grows to 25 metres (82 feet) in length.



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