Janjucetus hunderi the fierce whale ancestor of modern giants

Meet Janjucetus a predatory ancestor to the giant filter-feeding whales of today. This fossil was found by local teenager Staumn Hunder, who spotted the fossils on the shore of the Jan Juc, Surf Coast: Wathaurong/WaddaWurrung Country.

Janjucetus was a small whale that lived around 25 million years ago off the Victorian coast. It hunted large fish for food, gripping them between its sharp teeth with the help of powerful jaw muscles.

Despite having fearsome teeth, the skull bones of Janjucetus show that it was in fact a very primitive baleen whale – but without baleen. Janjucetus is therefore a vivid evolutionary link between ancient whales and modern giants like the Blue Whale. A few fossils of relatives have been found elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, but Janjucetus seems to have been especially common in Victoria.