Physical appearance and biologyEdit
Behaviour and traitsEdit
The body of Dorudon was streamlined, muscular and dolphin-like in shape. It would have been able to swim at high speeds and manoeuvre quickly under water, making sudden turns and even leaping clear of the sea. Its speed and agility were used for catching fast prey, such as fish, sharks and squid, and also meant that Dorudon could also get out of the way of other predators, such as Basilosaurus.
Dozens of Dorudon fossils have been found preserved together in the same geological horizons, indicating that they were social animals that lived in large groups. Even so, they did not 'sing' to one another because they lacked the melon organ that modern cetaceans use to communicate across long distances. However, it is thought that they could still have used high-pitched sounds to communicate when very close by.
When it came to breeding, pods of Dorudon would migrate to seasonal birthing grounds in shallow coastal regions. One such ancient breeding ground has been found in the Egyptian Fayum desert, where dozens of adult and juvenile Dorudon skeletons are preserved together. Some of the juvenile skulls had been crushed by the jaws of a giant predator. The only viable candidate is the larger whale Basilosaurus, which may have hung around the Dorudon, waiting for them to give birth, before attacking their newborn calves.
Whilst searching for food to nourish herself and her unborn calf, a pregnant Basilosaurus encountered a pod of Dorudon gathering to give birth. However, the presence of the Basilosaurus disturbed the pod and they drove off the mother temporarily.
Later, after scratching, the Basilosaurus returned and started a feeding frenzy, killing many Dorudon calves. The nursery was now a bloodbath. When the Basilosaurus left, the scent of Dorudon blood streamed out of her jaws.
Behind the scenesEdit
List of appearancesEdit
- Walking with Beasts
- 102. Whale Killer
- Sea Monsters
- Walking with Beasts: A Prehistoric Safari
- Sea Monsters book
- The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life