The discovery may help to explain the pygmy whale's unique appearance; the comparatively small whale (adult pygmy whales typically only grow to about 21 feet long) has a distinct, downturned snout that looks almost like a permanently etched in frown.
However, the new study, which examined pygmy whale fossil fragments and skull bones and contrasted them against those of other ancient cetaceans, found that the pygmy whale more closely resembled a group of whales called cetotheres, thought to have vanished over two million years ago, said Felix Marx, a paleontologist at New Zealand's University of Otago.
Yet despite the interesting finding, Marx said that researchers were unable to find any evidence of how the pygmy whale had evolved.
of species Baleen whales (Mysticeti) Right whale and bowhead whale 3 Pygmy right whale 1 Gray whale 1 Rorqual whale (ie minke, fin and humpback) 6 Total 11 Toothed whales (Odontoceti) Pygmy whale
and dwarf sperm whale 2 Sperm whale 1 Narwahl and beluga 2 Beaked whale 21 Oceanic dolphin 33 Amazon river dolphin 1 Yangtze river dolphin and franciscana 2 Indus and Ganges river dolphin 2 Porpoise 6 Total 70