[MARMAM] New publication - seals, whales, and the Cenozoic decline of nautiloid cephalopods

Tsai, CH craniata at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 15:28:57 PDT 2022

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a new publication on how marine mammals may have
driven the regional extinctions of nautiloid cephalopods globally in the
Cenozoic and led to the current distribution.

Kiel S, Goedert JL, and Tsai CH. 2022. Seals, whales, and the Cenozoic
decline of nautiloid cephalopods. Journal of Biogeography, doi:


*Nautilus* and *Allonautilus*, last members of the once widespread
nautiloid cephalopods, are today restricted to the deep central Indo-West
Pacific Ocean, for reasons that remain unclear. Cephalopod evolution is
generally considered as being driven by vertebrate predation; therefore, we
investigated the role of whales and seals in the decline of nautiloids
through the Cenozoic.


Nautiloids, pinnipeds, cetaceans.

Distribution data for nautiloids, pinnipeds and cetaceans through the
Cenozoic were compiled and plotted on a series of paleogeographic maps.
Nautiloid shell sizes were compiled and plotted against the first
appearance of pinnipeds and cetaceans in key regions.

>From the Oligocene onward, nautiloids became extinct in areas where
pinnipeds appeared. The exception is the agile nautiloid *Aturia*, extinct
globally at the end of the Miocene. A major role of odontocetes in the
demise of nautiloids is not apparent, except for a few brevirostrine
Oligocene taxa from the North American Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which
appeared in these areas at the same time as nautilids disappeared. The
Oligocene disappearance of nautiloids (except *Aturia*) from the American
Pacific coasts coincides with the development of oxygen minimum zones
(OMZs) in this region.

Main conclusions
We hypothesize that the Cenozoic spread of pinnipeds drove nautiloids into
their present-day central Indo-West Pacific refuge. Additional factors for
the local extinction of nautiloids in the Oligocene include predation by
short-snouted whales and the development of OMZs, preventing nautiloids
from retreating into deeper water.

Significance statement
The iconic “living fossil” Nautilus occurs mainly in the deep tropical
Indo-West Pacific Ocean. The fossil record indicates that this restriction
from a once worldwide distribution was largely driven by the Cenozoic
spread of seals, highlighting the role of vertebrate predation in the
evolution of cephalopods.

This paper is freely available here:


Regards and all the best,
蔡政修(Cheng-Hsiu Tsai  さい まさのぶ) PhD
Lab of evolution and diversity of fossil vertebrates(古脊椎動物演化及多樣性實驗室)
Department of Life Science & Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary
National Taiwan University(台灣大學)
No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, 106-17, Taiwan(台灣 106-17 台北市羅斯福路 4 段
1 號)
Email: whaletsai at ntu.edu.tw; craniata at gmail.com
Tel: 886 - 2 - 3366 - 2448
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