Photo Gallery: Top Ten News Photos of 2005

Photo: Whale Found in Egypt Desert
Email to a Friend


Next Photo >>

10. Whale Found in Egypt Desert

Kicking off our list of the most viewed National Geographic News photos of the year is one whale of a discovery.

Egypt may not be the first place you'd look for whales, but once upon a time the Wadi Hitan desert was underwater and teeming with the sea giants.

In April geologist Philip D. Gingerich announced his team had excavated the first known nearly complete skeleton of a Basilosaurus isis (pictured). The 50-foot- long (18-meter-long), 40-million-year-old fossil was shipped to Michigan, where experts are preserving it. Later they will return the fossil to Egypt along with a complete cast of the skeleton.

The first of the truly gigantic whales, Basilosaurus had the serpentine shape of a sea monster and short, sharp teeth for hunting sharks and other prey. Unlike today's whales, it had no blowhole—the ancient behemoth had to raise its head above water to breathe. What's more, Basilosaurus still had the feet it inherited from its land-dwelling ancestors, according to Gingerich, who works for the University of Michigan and is a National Geographic Society grantee.

Next Photo >>

Originally published April 2005

Top Ten National Geographic News Stories of 2005
Top Ten Videos of 2005 From National Geographic News
Free E-Mail Newsletter: "Focus on Photography"

NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




ADVERTISEMENT

 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.