[MARMAM] Monograph - the skull of the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops

ewan fordyce ewan.fordyce at stonebow.otago.ac.nz
Tue Nov 10 10:50:07 PST 2009

This title was published by Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press 
on 20 October 2009:
Mead, J. G., and R. E. Fordyce. 2009. The therian skull: a lexicon 
with emphasis on the odontocetes. Smithsonian Contributions to 
Zoology 627:1-248.

    Cetaceans form one of the most unique groups in the evolutionary 
history of mammals. They have returned to the sea and modified their 
tail as an efficient means of locomotion. As they adapted to the 
limited visibility in the aquatic environment, the odontocetes 
developed a system of echolocation that resulted in extensive 
modifications to the skull bones. This made descriptive comparisons 
very difficult and early anatomists unwittingly composed new terms 
for anatomical structures that had already been named in other taxa. 
This made anatomical comparisons, based on the literature, extremely 
    This lexicon is an attempt to remedy that situation in that it 
provides headwords and definitions for all the terms that have been 
used in describing the mammal skull and notes the synonymous terms. 
The lexicon includes the human nomenclature (Nomina Anatomica), the 
veterinary nomenclature (Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria) and the 
nomenclature that is used in descriptive comparative anatomy. The 
lexicon covers not only extant but extinct mammalian groups and is 
extensively indexed.

The monograph is available as a free pdf download from the SI Press 
website via:

The authors realise there is no end to lexicography, and are already 
compiling terms for a second edition in which we plan to include 
mysticetes. With this aim, we would welcome comments on entries in 
the current volume. It will help if your email subject line mentions 

James G. Mead, Ph.D.
Curator of Marine Mammals
Division of Mammals,
Smithsonian Institution
NHB 394, MRC 108
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC  20013-7012

R. Ewan Fordyce
Head, Department of Geology, University of Otago,
PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, NZ, and
Research Associate, Division of Mammals,
Smithsonian Institution

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