[MARMAM] Review article - Cetacea

Ewan Fordyce ewan.fordyce at otago.ac.nz
Mon Nov 25 11:36:34 PST 2013

Dear List Members

This review article has just been published online:

Fordyce, R Ewan (Nov 2013). Cetacea (Whales, Porpoises and Dolphins). 9 pp. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001574.pub2]

Cetaceans (whales and dolphins) are streamlined aquatic mammals that spend all their lives in water. They are all carnivorous, taking either many small prey by bulk filter‐feeding (Mysticeti, baleen whales), or larger prey by echolocation‐assisted hunting (Odontoceti, dolphins and toothed whales). The main living groups, Mysticeti and Odontoceti, arose from archaic whales – Archaeoceti – some 35 Mya. Cetaceans have been distinct for more than 50 My. Their closest relatives are the hoofed mammals, artiodactyls, such as hippos and cows. Cetaceans include the largest living animals, and range through all oceans and into some rivers. Their active aquatic lifestyle makes them difficult to study. Developments in electronic data‐gathering, tissue analyses, genetic sequencing and phylogenetic analyses, and discoveries of new fossils, have hugely expanded recent understanding. Most of the diversity of living cetaceans (currently 87 species) is concentrated in the oceanic dolphins – Delphinidae (36 species), Ziphiidae (beaked whales, 21 species) and Balaenopteridae (rorquals, 8 species).

A pdf is available on request: email ewan.fordyce[at]otago.ac.nz

R. Ewan Fordyce
Professor, Department of Geology University of Otago, Box 56, Dunedin 9054, NZ
Research Associate, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution;
Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa; Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum; Michigan State University Museum.

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