About twenty million years ago, the Swiss plateau was flooded by the sea. Sharks, rays, whales and dolphins swam in the water. Paleontologists in Zurich have now identified two families of dolphins for the first time based on fossils.
Researchers led by Gabriel Aguirre Fernandez have analyzed about 300 fossil remains of marine mammals kept in four Swiss museums. They were particularly interested in the bones of the inner ear because they allow the classification of individual species, As announced by the University of Zurich on Tuesday.
Poor quality of excavations
In this way, paleontologists succeeded in identifying clear specimens of three families of marine mammals. As they reported in the journal PeerJ, remains of kentriodontids, squalodelphinidae and Physeteridae were found among the fossils.
While the latter, related to sperm whales today, was already known to exist in Switzerland, two families of dolphins were first identified in the deposits of so-called higher marine molasses whales.
According to the researchers, it is not possible to determine whether this species was completely unknown before due to the poor quality of the fossils. (SDA)
“Tv expert. Hardcore creator. Extreme music fan. Lifelong twitter geek. Certified travel enthusiast. Baconaholic. Pop culture nerd. Reader. Freelance student.”