Whales – the largest animals on the planet – evolved to gigantic sizes only almost 2-3 million years ago as a result of changes in the distribution of their food in the oceans, according to a new study.
2/7 Body size
Blue whales have a maximum recorded weight of 173 tonnes and can grow up to 29.9 metres in length. However, until a couple of million years earlier, whales rarely grew over 10 metres.
3/7 A not-so-old phenomenon
A data also showed that the huge whales that exist today were not present for the majority of whales’ background. Researchers traced the discrepancy back to a shift in the way body size evolved that occurred about 4.5 million years ago.
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4/7 Smaller species gone
Not just did whales with bodies longer than 10 metres begin to evolve around this time, but smaller sized species of whales likewise began to vanish.
5/7 Evolutionary processes
Researchers said that evolutionary shift, which took place at the beginning of the Ice Ages, represents climatic modifications that would certainly have reshaped whales’ food supply on the planet’s oceans.
6/7 Food supply
At the time of this transition, Baleen whales, which filter small prey, like krill, out of salt water, were well equipped to take advantage of these dense patches of food.
7/7 Feeding habits
Baleen whales’ filter-feeding systems, which developed regarding 30 million years earlier, basically set the stage for the major size increase. As rich sources of victim became focused specifically locations and times of year, it boosted the whales’ food supply and thereby- lead to a gradual yet stable development in their body size over the decades.