15" Fossil Primitive Whale (Pappocetus) Front Jaws
This is a really cool and impressive specimen. It is the front jaws including rostrum of a 40 million year old primitive whale (Pappocetus lugardi). It comes from the Aridal Formation near Boujdour, Morocco and measures 15" in length. The jaws contain thirteen huge, interlocking teeth. The piece has been stabilized and the original plaster cast from collection was left in place creating a nice base.
Pappocetus is a genus of extinct protocetid cetacean. Protocetids are considered to be one of the earliest examples of whale development during the time they were transitioning from land to sea. Fossil records indicate that they are Middle Eocene in age, existing after Pakicetus (earliest known whale) and prior to Zygorhiza (basilosaurid). These protocetids had become much more whale-like in appearance, featuring a more streamlined body with forelegs that had become paddle-like, and hind-limbs that were greatly reduced in size. Their robust teeth and root structure suggests that they were an aquatic carnivore, relying on smell and vision as their most important senses for hunting prey. It's unlikely that by this point they had developed echolocation systems used by modern whales.
Gueran, Boujdour, Western Sahara, Morocco