Nearly perfectly preserved whale skeleton between 3,000-5,000 years old has been discovered in Thailand.
The bones were found in early November this year, some 12km off the coast just to the west of Bangkok.
Experts hope the find might provide “a window into the past,” especially for research on sea levels and biodiversity.
Pictures shared by Thailand’s environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa show the bones apparently almost entirely intact.
According to the social media post by the minister, more than 80% of the skeleton has so far been recovered, including vertebrae, ribs, fins and one shoulder blade.
Mr Chua says the discovery will allow researchers to find out more about the particular species in the past, whether there were any differences compared to today’s Bryde’s whales.
The skeleton will also provide information about the “paleobiological and geological conditions at that time, including sea level estimation, types of sediments, and the contemporary biological communities at that time”.
The bones are yet to be carbon-dated to determine their exact age, with the results expected in December.
The gulf of Thailand has an interesting history in the last 10,000 years, the biologist points out, with sea levels possibly up to 4m higher than today and active tectonic activity.
The skeleton was found off the current coastline in Samut Sakhon.
Bryde’s whales, which live worldwide in warm temperate and tropical waters, are still found in the waters around Thailand today.