[MARMAM] New paper on the inner ear of the pygmy right whale

Felix Marx felix.marx at monash.edu
Sat Mar 25 09:32:30 PDT 2017

Dear colleagues,

please find below the abstract of our recently published paper on the inner
ear anatomy of the pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata:

Park T., Marx F.G., Fitzgerald E.M.G. and Evans A. 2017. The cochlea of the
enigmatic pygmy right whale Caperea marginata informs mysticete phylogeny
Journal of Morphology: published online (early view)

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmor.20674/full

Abstract: The pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata, is the least understood
extant baleen whale (Cetacea, Mysticeti). Knowledge on its basic anatomy,
ecology, and fossil record is limited, even though its singular position
outside both balaenids (right whales) and balaenopteroids (rorquals +
grey whales)
gives Caperea a pivotal role in mysticete evolution. Recent investigations
of the cetacean cochlea have provided new insights into sensory
capabilities and phylogeny. Here, we extend this advance to Caperea by
describing, for the first time, the inner ear of this enigmatic species.
The cochlea is large and appears to be sensitive to low-frequency sounds,
but its hearing limit is relatively high. The presence of a well-developed
tympanal recess links Caperea with cetotheriids # and balaenopteroids,
rather than balaenids, contrary to the traditional morphological view of a
close Caperea-balaenid relationship. Nevertheless, a broader sample of the
cetotheriid Herpetocetus demonstrates that the presence of a tympanal
recess can be variable at the specific and possibly even the intraspecific

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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