Co-author and collaborator Ana M. Valenzuela-Toro reveals MPC 677 (fieldnumber "B33"), with Roberto E. Yury Yáñez (new co-author on another paper), looks on. This image is part of Figure 1 in our new paper published today. (Photo: James F. Parham).
Today, my South American colleagues and I are happy to announce that our paper about our major findings at Cerro Ballena is now available open-access online at Proceedings of the Royal Society B. This work is the result of nearly four years of work aimed at understanding the world’s densest site of fossil whales in Atacama Region, Chile. (See this blog's archive here).
An image from a 3D model of three fossil whales from Cerro Ballena, colloquially called "La Familia." This image is also part of Figure 4 in our paper, out today. See more at http://cerroballena.si.edu
We pull several different lines of evidence to explain how all of these whales, and other marine vertebrates, accumulated at this amazing site: we argue that harmful algal blooms, not just once, but four times (!) were ultimately responsible. The paper is open-access, so go download and read it! And better, yet, see it digitally for yourself at our open-access bilingual (English and Spanish) website designed and built by co-author, information scientist and 3D wrangler, Holly Little:
At the site, anyone can download or interact with 3D models of the fossil baleen whale skeletons; scan GoogleEarth maps of the excavation quarries; look at a vast collection of high-resolution field photos and videos; or move from 360 degree tours of the site. There is also a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page here.
Some of the key members, all co-authors, of our team. See more at http://cerroballena.si.edu (Photo: NDP)
This work was also the result of a great collaboration: 14 co-authors, from students to professors to curators, and across museums and universities internationally. We especially thank our Chilean partner institutions at Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Chile, the Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, and Universidad de Chile.
We'll be posting more updates soon.