Researchers in Switzerland have found the remains of two previously unknown species of dolphins in the Alps within its borders. These two species lived in landlocked hill country 20 million years ago.
According to a survey conducted by the University of Zurich, Switzerland at that time was part of the landscape of an island populated by fish, sharks and dolphins, oysters and sea urchins on the seabed. The paleontology department has examined more than 300 different fossils of whales and dolphins from this period.
According to a press release from the university, “Switzerland’s main natural history and paleontology collection consists mostly of fragments of teeth, vertebrae and ear bones found in the upper marine molasses, indicating that strong currents dragged the animal to the bottom of the ocean and tore the bones apart.” “
“For research purposes, the most interesting remnants are the bones of the inner ear, because they allow to classify individual species. The problem is that such bones are rarely found.”
The paleontologist Gabriel Aguirre, while talking about the problems mentioned above, summarized the whole study and said, “Nevertheless, we have been able to identify two families of previously unknown dolphins in Switzerland.”
University scientists have been able to reconstruct organs around the ear bone to create 3D models of the ear. Gabriel Aguirre said it helped to better analyze the dolphin’s hearing.
The study was even able to conclude that these two new dolphin species were related to the sperm whales and ocean dolphins present today.