An almost perfectly preserved whale skeleton has been discovered in just west of Bangkok in Samut Sakhon. Researchers have excavated 80% of the remains and have so far identified 19 complete vertebrae, five ribs, a shoulder blade and fins. The skeleton measures 12 metres (39ft), with a skull that is 3 metres long.
The skeleton, believed to be a Bryde’s whale, has not been carbon dated to verify age as of now, but is believed to be up to anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 years old. While the Bryde’s whale is still found in Thailand’s waters, they face threats fishing equipment as well as tourism. Due to this, they are a protected species.
The remains, which were found about 12km (7.5 miles) inland, will help aid scientists understand the evolutions of the species, and track how the sea levels have changed over the years.
“Previously, only marine deposits containing small fossilized marine shells or crabs had been found inland, and it was not clear if those fossils had been moved by humans,” said Marcus Chua, of The
National University of Singapore. “A large sub-fossil whale dated thousands of years ago near Bangkok would provide strong evidence of where the sea was during that time,” he said.
“Scientists could also study the deposits found at the same level as the whale to reconstruct the biological communities present during that time, and compare them to present day systems,” said Chua.
The exact age of the skeleton is to be revealed sometime in December.
Written by: Ady Baddley