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Nov. 27 (UPI) — Researchers in Thailand have found an almost perfectly preserved whale skeleton believed to be between 3,000 and 5,000 years old.
The 39-foot-long skeleton was found 7.5 miles off the coast near Bangkok, and is thought to be a Bryde’s whale.
Bryde’s whales are still found in Thailand’s waters. A protected species that feeds on schooling fish like anchovies, the whales face threats from fishing equipment and tourism.
Scientists hope the remains, which will be carbon dated in December, will offer insight into the past, particularly on sea levels and biodiversity.
“There are few whale subfossils in Asia,” and fewer in such good condition, mammal researcher Marcus Chua of the National University of Singapore said.
Chua said the discovery is evidence of “relatively large sea level changes around 6,000 years to 3,000 years ago in the Gulf of Thailand, where the shoreline was up to tens of kilometres inland of the present coast.”
He also said the discovery of the whale could offer insight into rising sea levels caused by climate change and into scientific understanding of the Bryde’s whale.
“Scientists could also study the deposits found at the same level as the whale to reconstruct the biological communities present during that time, and compare them to present day systems.”