Quarried Marble is a huge industry worth billions of dollars. It is used everywhere from table tops to the floors of grand hotels. Millions of tonnes are extracted from quarries across the world from Italy to Pakistan. It is composed of metamorphosed calcium carbonate. The most common source of this compound are the shells of ancient marine organisms. Therefore fossils can often be seen in the polished slabs of stone. Cross sections of a crocodile skeleton were found at an Italian quarry.
Then workers in the Minya district of Egypt sliced a large block of Marble stone into six sections. On each they found a series of strange, symmetrical markings. They realised that they had found a fossil skull. They contacted the Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio in Pisa, where Palaeontologists Philip Gingerich and Giovanni Bianucci gave the fossil a date of 40 million years. Further analysis revealed that the skull was very similar to a whale called Protocetus. Yet it was in fact a different species. Gingerich and Bianucci gave the ancient whale the name Aegyptocetus, after the country where it was found. They believe that its body underwent the 'float and bloat' process.
|The marble slabs containing the skull of Aegyptocetus tarfa|