Prehistoric giant dolphin discovered in Amazon by paleontologists

A giant new species of freshwater dolphin, dating back approximately between 24 and 16 million year, was recently discovered by a team of paleontologists in the Peruvian Amazon.

The team was from the University of Zurich.

The university said the newly identified species, dubbed Pebanista yacuruna, spanned between 3 to 3.5 meters. It was discovered during an expedition in 2018.

"We discovered that its size is not the only remarkable aspect," said lead author Aldo Benites-Palomino. "With this fossil record unearthed in the Amazon, we expected to find close relatives of the living Amazon river dolphin – but instead the closest cousins of Pebanista are the South Asian river dolphins (genus Platanista)."

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The university recently released pictures showing an artistic representation of the dolphin in the Amazon river,a surface 3D model in dorsal view, paleontologist Aldo Benites-Palomino processing samples, and a group of paleontologists, and a local guide excavating on a 13-million-year-old fossil.

Storyful contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.