Posted by: The ocean update | August 27, 2015

Fossils reveal beluga whales once populated Ottawa Valley (Ontario – Québec, Canada)

August 27th, 2015 (Lyle Dillabough). Many people are surprised when told that the Ottawa Valley was once covered by water. Today, that ancient water covering is referred to as the Champlain Sea, for it existed thousands of years ago. Lac Champlain in the upper states of New York and Vermont is the only remnant of this once great body of water. There are also fossils and other clues which remain scattered across the region but most of these are recognizable to only those who are actually looking for them.

So imagine the surprise which came to a group of pit workers when they came across a number of large bones while digging during the mid 1960s. This occurred at sites located near Pakenham, White Lake, Pembroke and Ottawa. And they were likely even more puzzled when they eventually learned these were whale bones that they had discovered while doing their excavations. Beluga whales to be precise and these specimens averaged between 35 to 60 feet in length!

Long ago nature had buried them beneath the sand and clay where they remained intact until their eventual discovery. The discovery not only confirmed the once existence of the Champlain Sea; it also provided scientists with clues into the nature and enviroment of this pre-historic body of water. It is said too, that age-old fish such as Sturgeon in the Ottawa River can be traced back to these same origins.

Something to think about.

The next time you are digging in your back yard you might want to keep this all in mind and take a good look at what comes up. And although everyone knows that whales are technically in the mammal family, either way one looks at it, that is one big fish !

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