[MARMAM] New archaic mysticete fossils from Antarctica

Felix Marx felix.marx at monash.edu
Tue Apr 2 06:45:30 PDT 2019


Dear colleagues,


please find below the abstract and link to our recently published paper on
new, surprisingly large fossils of the archaic mysticete Llanocetus from
Antarctica.


Marx, F.G., Buono, M.R., Evans, A.R., Fordyce, R.E., Reguero, M., and
Hocking, D.P. (2019). Gigantic mysticete predators roamed the Eocene
Southern Ocean. Antarct Sci 31, 98-104.


Link:
www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antarctic-science/article/gigantic-mysticete-predators-roamed-the-eocene-southern-ocean/0EEFC32753A8909BC4E7C134F5AEA6AE

Abstract: Modern baleen whales (Mysticeti), the largest animals on Earth,
arose from small ancestors around 36.4 million years ago (Ma). True
gigantism is thought to have arisen late in mysticete history, with species
exceeding 10 m unknown prior to 8 Ma. This view is challenged by new
fossils from Seymour Island (Isla Marambio), Antarctica, which suggest that
enormous whales once roamed the Southern Ocean during the Late Eocene (c.
34 Ma). The new material hints at an unknown species of the archaic
mysticete Llanocetus with a total body length of up to 12 m. The latter is
comparable to that of extant Omura's whales (Balaenoptera omurai Wada et
al. 2003), and suggests that gigantism has been a re-occurring feature of
mysticetes since their very origin. Functional analysis including sharpness
and dental wear implies an at least partly raptorial feeding strategy,
starkly contrasting with the filtering habit of living whales. The new
material markedly expands the size range of archaic mysticetes, and
demonstrates that whales achieved considerable disparity shortly after
their origin.

Kind regards,

Felix Marx
_____________________________

*Felix G. Marx* PhD | FNRS Postdoctoral Fellow

*University of Liège, Belgium
*Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium
*Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
*Museums 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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