[MARMAM] New paper on fossil pygmy right whale

Felix Marx felix.marx at monash.edu
Fri Jun 22 06:38:31 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

please find below the abstract and link to our recently published, open
access paper on a new pygmy right whale fossil from Australia:

Marx FG, Park T, Fitzgerald EMG, and Evans AR. 2018. A Miocene pygmy right
whale fossil from Australia. PeerJ 6:e5025

Link: https://peerj.com/articles/5025/

Abstract: Neobalaenines are an enigmatic group of baleen whales represented
today by a single living species: the pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata,
found only in the Southern Hemisphere. Molecular divergence estimates date
the origin of pygmy right whales to 22–26 Ma, yet so far there are only
three confirmed fossil occurrences. Here, we describe an isolated periotic
from the latest Miocene of Victoria (Australia). The new fossil shows all
the hallmarks of Caperea, making it the second-oldest described
neobalaenine, and the oldest record of the genus. Overall, the new specimen
resembles C. marginata in its external morphology and details of the
cochlea, but is more archaic in it having a hypertrophied suprameatal area
and a greater number of cochlear turns. The presence of Caperea in
Australian waters during the Late Miocene matches the distribution of the
living species, and supports a southern origin for pygmy right whales.

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: Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique
D.O. Terre et Histoire de la Vie, Evolution de la Paléobiosphère
29 rue Vautier, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 (0)488 897314
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