Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 55: Jan-Feb 1988

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











A Glitch In The Evolution Of Whales

S.A. McLeod, a paleontologist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, has been studying the bones of a 10-million-year-old whale found in a backyard in Southern California. It is claimed that these bones "will fill an im portant gap in (the) knowledge of the evolution of whales." Actually, the opposite seems to be the case.

"One of the interesting things about the discovery is that it appears 'this guy didn't follow the same evolutionary path as living whales,' McLeod says. Sperm whales today have well-developed teeth only in the lower jaw, whereas the fossil whale shows evidence of very large, very welldeveloped teeth in both upper and lower jaws."

(Tyndall, Katie; "A Whale's Legacy," Insight, 49, June 15, 1987. Cr. C. Stiles.)

Comment. One would think that a full mouth of teeth would serve sperm whales better, especially in their battles with the giant squid they prey upon. Is evolution reversing for whales?

From Science Frontiers #55, JAN-FEB 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987