Join us for our February Fossil Club Meeting and a presentation by Stephen Godfrey, Curator of Paleontology at Calvert Marine Museum

The talk title is: On the Sense of Smell in Fossil and Modern Whales and Dolphins.

Description of the talk:
Ancient archaeocete whales retained a sense of smell (an ability to detect air-borne odors) that they inherited from their terrestrial ancestors. Living baleen and toothed whales (dolphins, sperm whales and their kin) have taken very different evolutionary pathways when it comes to their sense of smell. Baleen whales have retained some ability to detect odors, whereas (as near as we can tell) toothed whales have lost that ability. The sense of smell in baleen whales is thought to still be important in their ability to find food, whereas in dolphins, they replaced their sense of smell with an ability to find food by way of echolocation (their bio-sonar system consisting of clicks and whistles). This picture-show will fully illustrate these remarkable evolutionary transitions by showing both fossil and modern whale skulls.

About Dr. Godfrey:


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Photo credit: Wiki Commons