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December 25 2012

Fossil of long-extinct whale found on seafloor


Researchers diving off the coast of Georgia may have found the remains of an Atlantic gray whale, a relic of a population that was hunted to extinction by the 18th century.

But this particular specimen died long before whalers became a threat. Carbon dating showed that the fossil, a left jawbone, is about 36,000 years old.

The big bone was first discovered along with two badly eroded vertebrae near Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary about 20 miles (32 kilometers) off southeast Georgia in 2008.

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