Mystery of the Atacama Whales of Chile

Last year over 1,000 complete whale fossils and many other marine mammals were discovered in the visually-spectacular coastal Atacama Desert. This is the driest and oldest desert on Earth with considerable archeo-anthropological sites, large marine mammal and bird communities and a treasure house of natural history in hyper-arid conditions. The distribution and orientation of the whales in the relatively soft sediments and exceptional lack of scavengers presents a considerable mystery. What happened about 7 million years ago to periodically create these waves of whale-dying? Why are the whales upside down? Why the lack of predators and scavengers? Was this a repeating environmental disaster, recurrent volcanic eruptions, or was this because of unique death-trap of calm but strangely toxic estuary waters along the Chilean coast? Join us in this world-class paleontology and adventure travel discussion in solving this perplexing puzzle presented by paleontologist Sol Squire, curator at the Paleontology Museum of Caldera in the southern Atacama Desert, for a visual feast of images and discussions on the Atacama and this world-class event in the history of life on Earth.

January 7, 2012
REI- Bloomington
750 W American Blvd
Bloomington, MN 55420
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