Paleontologists unveil the fossilized remains of an ancient whale that inhabited the seas 36 million years ago, found last year in a Peruvian desert.

Palaeontologists unveil 36-million-year-old whale fossil found in Peruvian desert

Fossilised remains of an Ocucaje Basilosaurus, a cetacean that inhabited the seas of Peru millions of years ago, were presented for the first time on Thursday at the Museum of Natural History of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.

Fossilised remains of an Ocucaje Basilosaurus, a cetacean that inhabited the seas of Peru millions of years ago, were presented for the first time on Thursday at the Museum of Natural History of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.

The discovery of the gigantic skull, which measures 1.35 metres and preserves its sharp teeth intact, was made last year by a team of researchers led by palaeontologist Mario Urbina.

The skull found in the Ocucaje desert, department of Ica, belongs to a very archaic cetacean, about 36 million years old, explained the palaeontologist Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi.

"A fossil that is in a great state of preservation and that allows us to know much more about the animals that existed in the Peruvian sea in the past," said Salas-Gismondi during the fossil's first public presentation.

It is estimated that the specimen could have reached a total length of 12 to 13 metres (39 to 42 feet).