While re-examining several fossils stored in the Smithsonian’s archive, a team of scientists stumbled over something unexpected. Ahab’s obsession resurface at Smithsonian museum, after the group of researchers managed to catalogue several fossil belonging to an extinct sperm whale.
The discovery cannot be regarded as being a novelty. In fact, the remain of the unusual sperm whale has been lying around in a dusty drawer for over 90 years. The earthly remains of the great sperm whale have been uncovered by a paleontologist back in 1925. Remington Kellog, the eminent researcher that made this stunning discovery didn’t manage to catalogue the sperm whale correctly.
Kellog included the extinct sperm what in the Ontocetus oxymycterus family, which is mostly comprised of extinct species of walruses.
Nearly 90 years have passed since the Smithsonian closed the case of the 15 million years whale. Recently, a team managed to open up the dusty folder tray, in order to take another look at the whale fossils. In the archive, they found a skull and a couple of fragments which resembled teeth and jaws. Carbon dating would suggest that this great creature lived on Earth during the Middle Miocene, a period in Earth’s natural history that took place 16 million years ago.
After taking a closer look at the fossils, the scientists realized that those fossils were not consistent with a member of the walrus family. Further tests have revealed that those are indeed the earthly remains of an enormous sperm whale. Moreover, according to their statements it would seem that the extinct marine mammal was white as a sheet.
It would seem that Ahab’s obsession resurfaced at the Smithsonian museum after a team of scientists stumbled upon the fossils of a 15 million years sperm whale. In order to correct Kellog’s mistake, the scientists took it upon themselves to redeem the name of this gentle giant of the sea.
So, as of now, the giant whale was recategorized and included in the Albicetus oxymycterus species. According to the team that performed the operation, the Albicetus branch in an entirely new family of sperm whales.
More to come on the fossils discovered in the Smithsonian museum. According to the ledger’s containing Kellog’s appraisals of the sea creature, the whale’s remains were found somewhere in California, in 1880. Initial measurements performed by the team revealed that the whale measured more than 20 feet in length.
Alexandra Boersma, lead author of the study stressed out the importance of study by saying that the evolutionary tree must be reviewed in order to see just where this new sperm whale fits.