Whales In The Desert: A Fossil Mystery
Atacama desert, Chile. The driest desert in the world meets the ocean. Photograph: courtesy of © Allison Davies
More than 2 million years ago, scores of whales congregating off the Pacific Coast of South America mysteriously met their end, in the same corner of the Atacama Desert, Chile.
Today, they have emerged again atop a desert hill more than a kilometer (half a mile) from the surf, where researchers have begun to unearth one of the world’s best-preserved graveyards of prehistoric whales. Chilean scientists together with researchers from the Smithsonian Institution are studying how these whales, many of the them the size of buses, wound up in the same corner of the Atacama Desert…