Locality Australia New Zealand

and South America size: 7 ft 5 in/2.3 m long Prosqualodon and its immediate family may have been ancestral to all the other toothed whales. It probably looked like a small modern dolphin, with a long, narrow snout armed with pointed, fish-catching teeth. But the teeth were primitive, since there were still triangular teeth at the back of the jaws, as there had been in the earlier whales, the archaeocetes (above).

Prosqualodon's skull had become lightweight as a result of several modifications to the animal's front end. First, the neck had become very short, and the back of the head blended in with the body and needed less support and protection. Second, the complex jaw structure of earlier whales had been greatly simplified, due to the purely fish diet. And thirdly, since the sense of smell was no longer the primary sense used in locating prey (sound having taken over), the complex olfactory apparatus was reduced.

In Prosqualodon, the nostrils were positioned on the roof of the head, between the eye sockets, where they formed a blowhole (as found in modern whales). The spent air which had accumulated during a dive was expelled explosively through the blowhole when the animal surfaced.

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