Peruvian whale fossil linked to new extinct genus


The fossil was put on display in Japan’s Gamagori Museum of Earth, Life and the Sea in 1999 after being discovered 26 years ago in the desert of Peru.According to a news story originally published in _The Asahi Shimbun_, an 8-meter-long whale fossil excavated in the 7.5-million-year-old strata in the Sacaco Basin in southern Peru could be related to the rorqual, also known as the baleen whale family.

The possibility of the relation was discovered by the National Museum of Nature and Science’s mammal paleontologist expert Naoki Kohno as well as visiting researcher Felix Marx.

The pair found the fossil had different features from noted examples in the baleen whale family.

The main discrepancy, the shape of the upper jaw, led Britain’s Royal Society to differentiate this fossil as a new genus, which is a rank between species and family in biological classification.

The genus has now been named Incakujira anillodefuego in hopes that the fossil will be an “Incan whale that connects Peru and Japan.”

“I am proud as it is the one and only fossil in the world,’ said Shokichi Inaba, the mayor of Gamagori. I would like to take advantage of it to promote our city to the world.”