This discovery was made while construction workers were preparing a site for a motorway expansion in Stromstad, Sweden. The University of Gothenburg has a team of researchers currently studying the new bones that were unearthed in a bed of clay along with other marine organisms. The researchers working for the university hope to identify the species of whale to which the bones belong and many are hopeful that this may actually be the further documented fossil proof that the mysterious species of whale known as the Swedenborg whale actually existed.
The bones were found at a depth of 75 meters deep within the mound of clay which helped to preserve the bones so well over thousands of years because of the oxygen free environment that it provided. Large parts of a jaw bone were among the largest found at the site with a length of over 2.5 meters.
The Swedenborg whale was so named because of a description of the whale made by a scientist from the 18th century named Emmanuel Swedenborg who including in his notes a description of this unique species of right whales, so named because they were deemed the 'right whale' to hunt during the ages of mass whaling when whales around the globe were nearly hunted to extinction, many have yet to recover from this devastating blow. (Read more about whaling at “ Seas of Blood: A Look at Whaling Past Present and Future”.) Since some people have not been entirely convinced whether this mysterious fifth species of right whales in the area that Emmanuel Swedenborg actually existed or not, the conclusions of this study could put the mystery to rest once and for all.
The Swedenborg whale was believed to be extinct with the population dying out over 8,000 years ago and would have inhabited the waters of the North Sea. Over the years, a series of ten different collections of bones have been identified as possible examples of the Swedenborg whale whose scientific name is Balaena swedenbo´rgii. However, there are some scientists who believe that these bones have been mistakenly identified as this mysterious fifth species when they were in fact actually from the known species of right whales and they argue that the infamous Swedenborg whale never existed.
With little known about the Swedenborg whale researchers on the University team will have to work backwards, covering a lot of ground to eliminate which species of whale that this new skeleton is not from. But if they can finally get to a substantial conclusion this could turn out to be quite an amazing find.