A spectacular discovery …

The RCMNS (Regional Committee on Mediterranean Neogene stratigraphy) Congress was held in Turin Italy: the 25th to the 28th September.

Erica Bicchi, professor at ESAIP, and her Italian colleagues have presented their latest discovery of a fossil of the family of cetaceans: a Miocene whale skull.

The presentation titled “The first well preserved Cetotheriid Skull from the upper Miocene of Piedmont, Northern Italy (Cetacea, Mysticeti, Cetotheriidae).” Told the story of the discovery made in the North West of Italy. The exceptional nauture of this research consisted is it was the first fossil of this family to have been extracted under optimal preservation conditions allowing  the determination of morphological characteristics required for the identification of the specimen. So far, only two other very poorly preserved fossils, , have been found in central and southern Italy and they were unsuitable for intensive study This latest discovery therefore provides new information on the paleobiogeographic distribution of this family of marine vertebrates in the Mediterranean in the Late Miocene.

The success of the presentation opened the way to new scientific collaborations, in particular with specialist colleagues in biostratigraphy.

The multidisciplinary team of researchers were:

  • Mr. Bisconti, a specialist in marine vertebrates,
  • Mr. Repetto, director of the the Alba museum where the fossil is now exposed,
  • Ms. Lozar,  abiostratigrapher specialized in  limestone nannofossisl,
  • Erica Bicchi, biostratigrapher and specialist in planktonic foraminifera. Her skills, coupled with those of her colleague Ms. Lozar, have enabled us to date the fossil accurately to the the upper Tortonian, Late Miocene, dated 8 Ma.