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Updated December 22nd, 2023 at 14:37 IST

Guinness World Records: Largest lake in Earth's history gets recognition

Lake Paratethys: Enormous animals lived there, such as the baleen whale Cetotherium riabinini, which is, incidentally, the smallest known baleen whale.

Pritam Saha
Guinness Book of World Records: largest lake in Earth's history gets recognized
Guinness Book of World Records: largest lake in Earth's history gets recognized | Image:Instagram
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The Guinness Book of World Records currently lists the largest lake in Earth's history. The Paratethys, also called Lake Paratethys, had ten times the amount of water in it as all the lakes on Earth today. Stated differently, its inclusion in the Guinness Book is long overdue.

Lake Paratethys: Origin

The Paratethys once extended from Turkmenistan in the east to Austria in the west. About 407,000 cubic miles (1.77 million cubic kilometers) of water made up its 1.08 million square mile (2.8 million square kilometer) surface. The study that provided the precise measurements of the lake was published in Scientific Reports in 2021, and now the lake's dimensions are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, which is a nice honor but hardly an exhaustive compendium of unchanging realities.

Lake Paratethys: Home to Baleen Whale

Roughly 11.6 million years ago, Paratethys was in existence. Enormous animals lived there, such as the baleen whale Cetotherium riabinini, which is, incidentally, the smallest known baleen whale. The surrounding marshes were also home to the enormous proboscidean Deinotherium, which is much larger than its elephantine relatives.

The lake dried up over millions of years, losing nearly one-third of its water and about two-thirds of its surface area in a 350,000-year period that ended 7.65 million years ago, according to the Guinness World Record website. The Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and Aral Sea are the principal bodies of water that remain from this enormous lake.

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Published December 22nd, 2023 at 10:22 IST

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