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Ancient Whale Discovered To Have Thick Gums And Sharp Teeth

Small whales including sperm whales still chew their food. Modern large whales, however, have baleen, stringy bristles in their mouths, used to filter out tiny sea creatures to digest their food. A ancient whale skull found in Antarctica had large gums, and is speculated that the gums may have preceded the baleen. The gums were studded with teeth.

Live Science writes:

"The giants of our modern ocean may be gentle, but their ancestors were anything but," study author Felix Marx, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, said in a statement. "Llanocetus was both large and a ferocious predator and probably had little in common with how modern whales behave."

"Until recently, it was thought that filter feeding first emerged when whales still had teeth," researcher R. Ewan Fordyce, a paleobiologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, said in the same statement. "Llanocetus shows that this was not the case."



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