The whales weren't always that big

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    According to a new study by the Smithsonian’s Nicholas Pyenson and the University of California’s Geerat Vermeij, whales took their time on the road to massiveness—and that slow expansion could explain why they’re still the biggest creatures around today.
    In their paper, two scientists chronicle the rise in ocean giants over the last 34 million years, illuminating the markedly different evolutionary paths they took compared to their terrestrial counterparts.
    Spanning up to 100 feet and weighing up to 200 tons, the largest animal ever to have lived is one most people are familiar with: the formidable blue whale. The rest of the sub-order of baleen whales (or mysticetes) aren’t too shabby either, boasting some of the largest animals on our planet. But baleen whales didn’t start getting so huge until roughly 5.3 million years ago, at the transition of the Miocene into the Pliocene, according to the study. Meanwhile, the largest-ever land mammal—a relative of the rhino known as paraceratherium—achieved its gigantic size 30 million years ago.


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