Argentines Find 5,000-Year-Old Dolphin Skull

A Tursiops Truncatus dolphin. Photo: X/ @ICB_Argentina

June 10, 2024 Hour: 1:14 pm

The skull belongs to a ‘bottlenose dolphin’, a species well known for its closeness to humans.

On Monday, the San Pedro Paleontological Museum reported the discovery of a 5,000-year-old dolphin skull made by two fishermen who found the remains of this animal, which lived in the area during the last marine incursion into the continent.


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The skull, measuring 60 centimeters in length and 35 centimeters in width, is preserved in “perfect condition, as if the cetacean had died just a few weeks ago,” the Argentine museum stated.

The specimen belongs to a bottlenose dolphin (‘Tursiops truncatus’), well-known to everyone because it is the species closest to humans and can be seen in many aquariums worldwide. Its common name comes from its distinctive bulbous nose.

The genus ‘Tursiops’ is an animal currently found in different regions around the world, inhabiting coastal areas and large estuaries, and frequents calm environments similar to those formed in the lower Parana delta during the marine incursion of the Holocene.

During the last marine incursion into the continent, which occurred during the Holocene between approximately 7,000 and 3,500 years ago, the sea entered through the Plata River and, occupying the Parana River channel, flooded all the low-lying areas past the city of Rosario (Santa Fe).

For this reason, remains of different animals that inhabited that estuary ecosystem often appear, such as shells, oysters, and fragmented whale remains.

“This is an extremely valuable record, both for the animal it concerns and the location where it was found, as it was caught in the Baradero creek, about 400 kilometers inland from the current maritime coast,” the Paleontological Museum said.

“This finding is the first record of dolphins for the northern part of Buenos Aires province and the southern part of Entre Rios province linked to the last marine incursion into the continent. It is an exceptionally well-preserved specimen and will provide an excellent opportunity to study another marine species that ventured into the continent during that global event,” highlighted Jose Luis Aguilar, a representative of the museum.

Previously, Argentine scientists have dated samples of marine vertebrates in neighboring localities, such as Baradero and Ramallo, which have yielded ages ranging from 5,000 to 6,000 years.

The San Pedro Paleontological Museum has a room dedicated to the exhibition of marine materials found in the area, where this skull will be displayed, to spread knowledge about a climatic event that altered the region’s landscape for several millennia and partially shaped the cliffs of northern Buenos Aires province.

Source: EFE

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