[MARMAM] New publication - Tsai and Kohno 2016 early gigantism in Mysticeti

Cheng-Hsiu Tsai craniata at gmail.com
Sat Oct 8 00:48:39 PDT 2016

Dear colleagues

We are pleased to announce a new article, considering the early gigantism
in baleen whales.

The full text could be viewed and/or downloaded here: http://rdcu.be/kMlY
or http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00114-016-1417-5

Alternatively, please email me: craniata at gmail.com or
cheng-hsiu.tsai at otago.ac.nz

Living baleen whales (Mysticeti) include the world’s largest animals to
have ever lived—blue whales (*Balaenoptera musculus*) can reach more than
30 m. However, the gigantism in baleen whales remains little explored.
Here, we compiled all published stem mysticetes from the Eocene and
Oligocene and then mapped the estimated body size onto different
phylogenies that suggest distinct evolutionary histories of baleen whales.
By assembling all known stem baleen whales, we present three novel findings
in early mysticete evolution. Results show that, regardless of different
phylogenetic scenarios, large body size (more than 5-m long) evolved
multiple times independently in their early evolutionary history. For
example, the earliest known aetiocetid (*Fucaia buelli*, 33–31 Ma) was
small in size, about 2 m, and a later aetiocetid (*Morawanocetus*-like
animal, 26–23 Ma) can reach 8-mlong—almost four times the size of *Fucaia
buelli*—suggesting an independent gigantism in the aetiocetid lineage. In
addition, our reconstruction of ancestral state demonstrates that the
baleen whales originated from small body size (less than 5 m) rather than
large body size as previously acknowledged. Moreover, reconstructing the
evolution of body size in stem baleen whales suggests that the initial
pulse of mysticete gigantism started at least back to the Paleogene and in
turn should help to understand the origin, pattern, and process of the
extreme gigantism in the crown baleen whales. This study illustrates that
Cope’s rule is insufficient to explain the evolution of body size in a
group that comprises the largest animals in the history of life, although
currently the lack of exact ancestor-descendant relationships remains to
fully reveal the evolutionary history of body size.

Regards and all the best,

蔡政修(Cheng-Hsiu Tsai  さい まさのぶ)
JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow  (JSPS: Japan Society for the Promotion
of Science 日本學術振興會)
Department of Geology and Paleontology,
National Museum of Nature and Science (Tsukuba Research Center)
4-1-1 Amakubo, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305-0005, Japan
Email: cheng-hsiu.tsai at otago.ac.nz; craniata at gmail.com
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