Extinct porpoise had a pronounced underbite

Skimmer porpoise skull and jaws Credit: Rachel Racicot

Skimmer porpoise skull and jaws
Credit: Rachel Racicot

I got to write about a fossilized porpoise that had a pronounced underbite, a feature that’s seemingly unique among mammals. Based on their study the researchers think the extinct California porpoise may have used its extended lower jaw to probe for prey on the ocean floor.

The fossil itself has been with the San Diego Natural History Museum since 1990, and was found in a 1.6-5 million year old rock formation on the Pacific coast. It wasn’t until they used a medical CT scanner to examine the fossilized porpoise skull and jaw that they realized how unusual it was.

Read the full story at NationalGeographic.com.

Reconstruction of an extinct porpoise with a pronounced underbite: Credit: Bobby Boessenecker

Reconstruction of an extinct porpoise with a pronounced underbite: Credit: Bobby Boessenecker

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