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Extinct whale's fossil found off Ga. coast

11:16 AM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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The Carlos Museum completed cleaning of the fragments and carefully reassembled the bone to its pre-recovery condition. (Courtesy NOAA: Scott Noakes, UGA)

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Scientists say they've discovered evidence of an ancient whale encrusted in the floor of the Atlantic Ocean off Georgia's coast.

University of Georgia research scientist Scott Noakes tells The Savannah Morning News that researchers discovered the huge whale bone while studying a reef north of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

Noakes said other divers had previously found bison teeth and wooly mammoth rib fragments in the area.

Scientists say that when the whale bone was discovered, researchers painstakingly removed it in sections during a series of 30-minute dives over two years. The nearly five-foot-long bone was identified as belonging to an Atlantic gray whale.

Atlantic gray whales grew to 50 feet long. Researchers believe whalers hunted them to extinction in the 1700s.

For more information on the whales and the bone's discovery, visit NOAA's Gray's Reef website

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