[MARMAM] New Publication; Fossil dolphin from New Zealand, new genus and species

Gabriel Aguirre gaboaguirre at gmail.com
Mon Jan 13 12:22:24 PST 2014

Dear MARMAM subscribers,

We are pleased to announce our recent publication in Journal of Vertebrate
Paleontology. The abstract is supplied below. The article can be downloaded
from the publisher's website (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2013.799069
), or it can be requested to gabriel.aguirre at otago.ac.nz

Aguirre-Fernández, G. and R. Ewan Fordyce (2014) Papahu taitapu, gen. et
sp. nov., an early Miocene stem odontocete (Cetacea) from New Zealand,
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 34:1, 195-210, DOI:


The early Miocene is one of the least understood intervals in cetacean
evolution.Anew early Miocene dolphin described here, *Papahu taitapu*, gen.
et sp. nov. (family incertae sedis, Cetacea, Odontoceti), is from the
Kaipuke Formation (21.7–18.7Ma) of North West Nelson, New Zealand. The
holotype of *Papahu taitapu *includes a skull with an open mesorostral
canal, a broad-based rostrum (broken anteriorly), two pairs of premaxillary
foramina, a slight bilateral asymmetry at the antorbital notches, a slight
intertemporal constriction exposing the temporal fossa and the lateral wall
of the braincase in dorsal view, and single-rooted (and probably homodont)
teeth. The periotic has an inflated, spherical pars cochlearis and an
anterior process with the anterointernal sulcus and a recurved lateral
sulcus well developed. The skull size indicates a body length of about
2 m. *Papahu
taitapu *plots cladistically in a cluster of archaic dolphins variously
referred to as Platanistoidea or as stem Odontoceti. It matches no family
described so far, but cladistic relationships for comparable odontocetes
are not yet resolved enough to justify family placement.

Best regards,

Gabriel Aguirre

PhD Graduate

University of Otago
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