Extinct Whale Found: The Pygmy Whale And Other Lazarus Species

By Amir Khan on December 19, 2012 10:07 AM EST

  • 5 pictures

Extinct Whale Found: The Pygmy Whale And Other Lazarus Species

An extinct whale found is the last remaining species of a dying lineage, according to a new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The extinct whale found, the pygmy whale,  the last remaining relative of a species thought to be extinct for the last 2 million years, can help shed light on the evolution of other living whales.

The living pygmy right whale is, if you like, a remnant, almost like a living fossil," Felix Marx, a paleontologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, told MSNBC about the extinct whale found. "It's the last survivor of quite an ancient lineage that until now no one thought was around."

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The extinct whale found, the pygmy right whale, looks very different than any other whale, and research suggests that it may have diverged from modern whales between 17 million and 25 million years ago. Researchers hope that further study of the extinct whale found can shed light not only on the species, but on the evolutionary path of whales in general.

The extinct whale found is an example of a Lazarus species, which are animals that disappear for years before resurfacing, named after the biblical character Jesus raised from the dead. Click through the slideshow for more examples of Lazarus species besides the extinct whale found.

 

 

 

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