Currently, the people of Earth along with other living species are suffering from the impact of global warming and climate change. And now, scientists have found strange information regarding a mysterious whale species which indicates about the impact of climate change on our planet. They have found out that those strange whale species named the pygmy right whale, once lived off the coast of Japan and Italy, which is quite surprising.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Erich Fitzgerald, a senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at Australia’s Museums Victoria said that this type of discovery is completely unexpected and is like finding a fossil kangaroo in Scotland. Actually, today, the pigmy whale is only found in the Southern Ocean around New Zealand, southern Australia, and South America. But recently, scientists astonishingly discovered the fossils of the pygmy right whales in Okinawa and Sicily, which are in the Northern Hemisphere.
The international team of scientists including first author and Otago University alumni Dr. Cheng-Hsui, revealed that a significant chapter in the whale’s evolutionary history took place in the Northern hemisphere and this pointed towards the potentially huge impact climate change could have on today’s whales.
Fitzgerald explained that these findings are the first to show that pygmy right whales – as endemic to southern waters as koalas are to Australia – had ancient relatives in the Northern Hemisphere. He also added that this astonishing discovery will provide new insights into how climate change has profoundly impacted the distribution of whales throughout the Earth’s oceans over millennia, and also point to how living species may be impacted by climate change, now with an added human dimension, in the future.
The Japanese fossil that the researchers analyzed, consisted of part of a skull and was between 500,000 and 1 million years old, and the Italian fossil, an ear bone, was believed to be between 1.7 and 1.9 million years old. Both the fossils had the same anatomy as that of the currently living pygmy right whales. Those unexpected discoveries were published in the scientific journal Current Biology.