Thursday, 26 February 2015

New Residents: Dolphins Swam into Mediterranean 18,000 Years Ago

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | February 19, 2015 03:35pm ET

Bottlenose dolphins moved into the Mediterranean, once too salty to harbor much marine life, at the end of the last ice age about 18,000 years ago, a new study finds.

"It is quite likely that the bottlenose dolphin hasn't actually been in the Mediterranean for long, in terms of the evolutionary time frame," said Andre Moura, one of the study's researchers and a lecturer of life science at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom.

During the last ice age, the Mediterranean was saltier and shallower than it is today, making it a difficult place for marine creatures to live, the researchers said. Even if bottlenose dolphins living in the Atlantic Ocean had ventured into the Mediterranean during that time, they would have been hard-pressed to find food that could survive in such a salty environment. 

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