As I mentioned previously PLOS has an interesting paper on echolocation in bats and whales (you may also recall this post on echolocation in whales). The PloS One paper looks at the FoxP2 gene in bats, cetaceans and various other animals.
Whales are fascinating creatures. We have a good fossil record for them ranging from their land living ancestors to early baleen species. One species of Delphinidae (cousins to the whales) are even considered to be culture bearing (I am referring, of course, to killer whales). They are equally interesting for what happens when they die and fall to the ocean floor. Whale falls are known for the unique range of biota that congregate to feed on the remains (See this post, for example).
In reading the coverage given to the recent damage done to the whale fossil in Wadi Hitan several things stand out. First, coverage in the mainstream media was negligible to non existent. Second, even in coverage outside the US nobody seemed much interested in asking members of the paleontological community for comments.
According to Yahoo News Egypt is accusing Belgium diplomats of damaging the whale fossil. There is an interesting twist to the story. Apparently the incident happened in July and is just now being reported. Belgium denies that the diplomats damaged the fossil, claiming the vehicles never left the road:
This is just pathetic. According to Yahoo a priceless Egyptian whale fossil has been destroyed by European diplomats out four-wheelin’: