The discovery in Gibraltar of bones belonging to two species of whales has led experts to believe that they once inhabited the Mediterranean Sea until being driven to extinction by the Romans around 2,000 years ago.
The remains were discovered by archaeologists from the University of York.
Ancient bones reveal forgotten history of whales — BBC News https://t.co/Njnzr0mYLl— TheRightBlue (@therightblue) July 12, 2018
Ancient whale bones from a Roman fish processing factory have revealed two long lost species from Mediterranean https://t.co/pW5nDzBWpX— Simon Bralee (@Braleebatch) July 12, 2018
Ancient bones reveal 2 whale species lost from the Mediterranean Sea https://t.co/1R1hFuhj12— Zahoranszki Agnes (@ZahoranszkiAgne) July 12, 2018
North Atlantic Right and Grey whales are native to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and may once have also migrated to the shallower, warmer waters of the Mediterranean to breed and calve.
The Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal have long been known to have hosted largescale fishing industries in the Roman period, with the salting of fish being a major industry of the region. The discovery suggests however, that a whaling industry also existed in antiquity.
The Romans have also been blamed for the extinction of many large land-mammals such as European bears and lions which were captured and killed en-masse for entertainment in the arenas.
Whaling peaked as an industry during the XIX century with laws been gradually reduced around the world to restrict its practice as it drove many marine species to and even beyond the brink of extinction.