3 million years ago, dead seals lived off the coast of Australia. This conclusion was reached by researchers from the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University as a result of the analysis of the fossilized tooth of this species of mammals. The study is published in the journal Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The fossil was discovered by an Australian amateur scientist while walking along the beach in Portland, western Victoria, and donated it to the state museum. A few years later, the researchers discovered the find, established its age and reconstructed the appearance of the animal to which the tooth belonged.
Analysis showed that the tooth belonged to a representative of a previously unknown species of seals that lived off the coast of Australia about 3 million years ago. According to scientists, they lived in shallow water off the coast and probably hunted fish and squid.
Since animals could not use their limbs to move on land, they multiplied and rested on the flat coastal beaches.
Researchers believe that radical changes in the Earth’s climate have significantly changed the environment of Australia, destroying the beaches used by dead seals for recreation.
“These past changes have led to the extinction of dead seals in Australia. Modern seals and sea lions are likely to encounter similar problems as the Earth continues to heat up, and the melting of the polar ice leads to sea-level rise”.
David Hawking, lead author of the study