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Did You Know? Ancient Dolphins Had Super Long Noses

They were five times the length of their head.


Ancient dolphins must have been telling a lot of tall tales, because they had super long Pinocchio noses, according to the Atlantic.

Extinct species like the Eurhinodelphis had snouts five times their head length.

In fact, Eurhinodelphis actually means "well-nosed dolphin," per the Atlantic.

The Parapontoporia also had a very long nose.

As did the Xiphiacetus, which was also known as the "sword whale."

In comparison, even today's dolphin species that are considered to have long noses don't actually have rostrums that are that long.

The Atlantic reported that river dolphins' well-known snouts only reach about twice the length of their head.

The long-beaked common dolphin doesn't have that long a beak either.

Its rostrum takes up just 10 percent of its body length, per Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

So why did all these prehistoric dolphins have such giant noses? It probably all came down to hunting.

The Atlantic reported that these dolphins likely evolved to use their long snouts like modern swordfish do. They could simply smack fish and stun them into submission before eating them.

Modern-day narwhals also do this, as Azula previously reported.

Giphy/NatGeo

These ancient long-nosed dolphins also lived during the Miocene Era, which had warmer water temperatures, per the Atlantic.

They would have needed any extra advantage they could get, because warmer water leads to faster fish.

The Calvert Maritime Museum reports that these long-snouted dolphins were quite common during the Miocene time period (23 to 5 million years ago) and lived all over the globe.

Eventually, though, the usefulness of the extra lengthy noses must have decreased. Today's modern dolphins have evolved to have much shorter noses.

Still, these ancient dolphins just go to show how handy a long nose could be under the right conditions.

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