Tetrapod Zoology

Tetrapod Zoology

Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals - living and extinct

Odobenocetops: ridiculous ‘walrus whales’


I always hoped that, one day, I’d have time to talk at length about Odobenocetops, one of the strangest and most exciting of fossil cetaceans. Alas, I haven’t yet found that time, so here are a few slides on the beast from one of my fossil marine mammal lectures.

Odobenocetops was originally described by Muizon (1993a, b). The second species was described in Muizon et al. (1999) and substantial additional data was provided by Muizon & Domning (2002). The illustrations used above are taken from these publications.

For (hopefully functional) links to all of the many Tet Zoo cetacean articles, see...

Refs - -

Muizon, C. de 1993a. Walrus-like feeding adaptation in a new cetacean from the Pliocene of Peru. Nature 365, 745-748.

- . 1993b. Odobenocetops peruvianus: una remarcable convergencia de adaptación alimentaria entre morsa y delfín. Bull. Inst. Fr. Études Andines 22, 671-683.

- . & Domning, D. P. 2002. The anatomy of Odobenocetops (Delphinoidea, Mammalia), the walrus-like dolphin from the Pliocene of Peru and its palaeobiological implications. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 134, 423-452.

- ., Domning, D. P. & Parrish, M. 1999. Dimorphic tusks and adaptive strategies in a new species of walrus-like dolphin (Odobenocetopsidae) from the Pliocene of Peru. Comptes Rendu de l’Academie des Sciences, Paris, Serie II 329, 449-455.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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