Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prehistoric Whale Discovered On The West Coast Of Sweden

Date:
June 8, 2009
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
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 who, among other things, want to ascertain whether the find is the mystical "Swedenborg whale".

The discovery of the whale bone.
Credit: Svevia

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".

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.

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


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Prehistoric Whale Discovered On The West Coast Of Sweden." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090605110420.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2009, June 8). Prehistoric Whale Discovered On The West Coast Of Sweden. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090605110420.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Prehistoric Whale Discovered On The West Coast Of Sweden." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090605110420.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins