[MARMAM] Paper on early evolution of baleen whales

Ewan Fordyce ewan.fordyce at otago.ac.nz
Tue Sep 1 14:48:27 PDT 2015

Reporting a new article on the early evolution of baleen whales -

Boessenecker RW, Fordyce RE 2015. A new genus and species of eomysticetid (Cetacea: Mysticeti) and a reinterpretation of ‘Mauicetus’ lophocephalus Marples, 1956: Transitional baleen whales from the upper Oligocene of New Zealand. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society: DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12297.
Abstract: The early evolution of toothless baleen whales (Chaeomysticeti) remains elusive, despite a robust record of Eocene–Oligocene archaeocetes and toothed mysticetes. Eomysticetids, a group of archaic longirostrine and putatively toothless baleen whales, fill in a crucial morphological gap between well-known toothed mysticetes and more crownward Neogene Mysticeti. A historically important but perplexing cetacean is ‘Mauicetus’ lophocephalus (upper Oligocene South Island, New Zealand). The discovery of new skulls and skeletons of eomysticetids from the Oligocene Kokoamu Greensand and Otekaike Limestone permit a redescription and modern reinterpretation of ‘Mauicetus’ lophocephalus, and indicating that this species may have retained adult teeth. Tokarahia kauaeroa gen. et sp. nov. is erected on the basis of a well-preserved subadult to adult skull with mandibles, tympanoperiotics, and cervical and thoracic vertebrae, ribs, sternum, and forelimbs from the Otekaike Limestone (> 25.2 Mya). ‘Mauicetus’ lophocephalus is relatively similar and recombined as Tokarahia lophocephalus. Phylogenetic analysis supports the inclusion of Tokarahia within the Eomysticetidae, alongside Eomysticetus, Micromysticetus, Yamatocetus, and Tohoraata, and strongly supports the monophyly of Eomysticetidae. Tokarahia lacked extreme rostral kinesis of extant Mysticeti, and primitively retained a delicate archaeocete-like posterior mandible and synovial temporomandibular joint, suggesting that Tokarahia was capable of, at most, limited lunge feeding in contrast to extant Balaenopteridae, and used an alternative as-yet unspecified feeding strategy.

Pdf is available from
Robert Boessenecker robert.boessenecker at otago.ac.nz<mailto:robert.boessenecker at otago.ac.nz>
or R Ewan Fordyce ewan.fordyce at otago.ac.nz<mailto:ewan.fordyce at otago.ac.nz>

R Ewan Fordyce FRSNZ
Professor, Department of Geology University of Otago, Box 56, Dunedin 9054, NZ
tel 3-4797510, paleo lab 3-4794575, cell 021-0373964, fax 3-4797527
Research Associate in Paleobiology and Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa; Fukui Dinosaur Museum; Michigan State University Museum.

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