An almost perfectly preserved whale skeleton thought to be between 3,000 and 5,000 years old has been discovered in Thailand.
The bones were found in early November, about 12 km (7.5 miles) off the coast of Bangkok.
The 12-foot-long (39-foot-tall) skeleton is thought to be that of Bride’s whale.
Experts hope the discovery could provide a “window into the past”, especially for exploration of sea level and biodiversity.
Partially fossilized bones are a “rare discovery,” mammalian researcher Marcus Chua of the National University of Singapore told the BBC.
“There are few subfossils of whales in Asia,” he said, and even fewer are “in such good condition.”
Pictures shared by Thai Environment Minister Varavut Silpa-arha show the bones almost intact.
According to the politician, more than 80% of the skeleton has been recovered so far, including vertebrae, ribs, fins and a shoulder blade.
The head of the skeleton alone is estimated to be about 3 million long.
Mr Chua said the discovery would allow researchers to find out more about specific species in the past, whether there are any differences compared to Brid whales today.
The skeleton will also provide information on “paleobiological and geological conditions at the time, including sea level assessment, sediment types and modern biological communities at the time”.
“So this discovery provides a window into the past after the skeleton was dated,” Mr Chua said.
The bones have yet to be dated to carbon to determine their exact age, and results are expected in December.
The Gulf of Thailand has an interesting history of the last 10,000 years, says the biologist, with sea levels perhaps up to 4 million higher than today and active tectonic activity
The skeleton was found off the current coast in Samut Sahon.
Brid whales, which live all over the world in warm temperate and tropical waters, are still found in waters around Thailand today.
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