Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Prehistoric whale discovered on the West Coast of Sweden

08.06.2009
The skeleton of a whale that died around 10,000 years ago has been found in connection with the extension of the E6 motorway in Strömstad.

The whale bones are now being examined by researchers at the University of Gothenburg who, among other things, want to ascertain whether the find is the mystical "Swedenborg whale".

The whale bones were discovered in mid-April south of Skee in the municipality of Strömstad in conjunction with excavations for the E6 extension. The whale skeleton, which is between 15 and 20 metres and is almost intact, has now been studied by Thomas Dahlgren at the Department of Zoology, University of Gothenburg, who can confirm that it is a right whale.

Similar to the "Swedenborg whale"

There are currently four species of right whale. What is particularly interesting is that the size and shape of the whale bones resemble those of a fifth species: the mystical "Swedenborg whale", first described by the scientist Emmanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century.

-Bones from what is believed to be Swedenborg's right whale have previously been found in western Sweden. However, determining the species of whale bones found in earth is complicated and there is no definitive conclusion on whether the whale actually existed, it could equally well be a myth, says zoologist Thomas Dahlgren and his colleague Leif Jonsson.

DNA tests conducted
To determine the species of whale that has been found Thomas Dahlgren has conducted DNA tests that are to be analysed in conjunction with researchers at the Natural History Museum in London. The whale bones are interesting in several respects. The fragments of bone were collected in a clay deposit and remains of marine organisms that today are also endangered species were found around them.

- The hunt for the large whale species, which led to the extinction of the Atlantic grey whale and perhaps the Swedenborg whale, may also have caused the extinction of a large number of species that are dependent on whale carcasses for their survival, says Thomas Dahlgren.

Preserved in clay
The whale bones are thought to be around 10,000 years old and were found 75 metres above sea level, but in a site that at that time was located out on the coast. It is conjectured that the bones have been preserved for such a long time as they were surrounded by fine, oxygen-free clay. The largest whale bone, approximately 2.5 metres long, is part of a jawbone. Among the smaller bones is a vertebra. Discussions are underway on whether the bones can be put in order and potentially put on public display.
Contact: Thomas Dahlgren, Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

46 (0)703-662042

Facts about the Swedenborg whale (Balaena swedenbo´rgii)
The whale species is believed to have existed in the North Sea from the period when the inland ice melted until about 8,000 years ago, and subsequently to have died out. Ten collections of bones from the species have been found in the west of Sweden. However, there is speculation that the bones have been mistaken for other species, and that the Swedenborg whale never existed. Source: Swedish National Encyclopedia
Press information: Krister Svahn
Krister.svahn@science.gu.se
+46 (0)31 786 49 12

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.science.gu.se/english/News/News_detail?contentId=882462
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Research sheds new light on forces that threaten sensitive coastlines
24.04.2017 | Indiana University

nachricht NASA sees the end of ex-Tropical Cyclone 02W
21.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecular libraries for organic light-emitting diodes

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>