[MARMAM] New paper on evolution of filter feeding in whales

Felix Marx felix.marx at monash.edu
Tue Nov 29 20:54:32 PST 2016

Dear colleagues,

please find below the abstract and link to our recently published, open
access paper on suction feeding and the evolution of baleen-assisted filter
feeding in whales:

Marx, F. G., Hocking, D. P., Park, T., Ziegler, T., Evans, A.R. and Fitzgerald,
E.M.G.  2016. Suction feeding preceded filtering in baleen whale evolution.
Memoirs of Museum Victoria 75: 71-82


Abstract: The origin of baleen, the key adaptation of modern whales
(Mysticeti), marks a profound yet poorly understood transition in
vertebrate evolution, triggering the rise of the largest animals on Earth.
Baleen is thought to have appeared in archaic tooth-bearing mysticetes
during a transitional phase that combined raptorial feeding with incipient
bulk filtering. Here we show that tooth wear in a new Late Oligocene
mysticete belonging to the putatively transitional family Aetiocetidae is
inconsistent with the presence of baleen, and instead indicative of suction
feeding. Our findings suggest that baleen arose much closer to the origin
of toothless mysticete whales than previously thought. In addition, they
suggest an entirely new evolutionary scenario in which the transition from
raptorial to baleen-assisted filter feeding was mediated by suction,
thereby avoiding the problem of functional interference between teeth and
the baleen rack.

Kind regards,

Felix Marx

*Felix G. Marx* PhD
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow
*Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium
*Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
*Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Address: School of Biological Sciences, Monash University
18 Innovation Walk, VIC 3800, Australia
Tel. +61 (0)3 9905 1190 (Monash University) or +61 (0)3 8341 7346 (Museum
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