Prehistoric Models: Cetacea

(whales, dolphins, and porpoises)

Mammals are a class animals defined as warm-blooded vertebrates, distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, the secretion of milk by females for the nourishment of the young, and (typically) the birth of live young (with only two modern exceptions).

The Infraorder Cetacea includes placental mammals that include whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The term Cetacea stems from the Latin: cetus meaning “whale” and from the romanized ancient Greek kētea meaning “huge fish”. To see my fossil Cetaceans click here.

Kingdom: Animalia – Phylum: Chordata – Superclass: Tetrapoda – Class: Mammalia – Order: Artiodactyla – Infraorder: Cetacea – Family Basilosauridae – Subfamily: Basilosaurinae

(Early whales)

Late Eocene

 

Genus: Basilosaurus 

Name meaning: King lizard

Synonym name: Zeuglodon

Classification: Family: Basilosauridae

Time: Late Eocene

Range: United States

Diet: Carnivore

Kingdom: Animalia – Phylum: Chordata – Superclass: Tetrapoda – Class: Mammalia – Order: Artiodactyla – Infraorder: Cetacea – Family Physeteridae

(Sperm whales)

Oligocene – Recent

 

Genus and species: Physeter macrocephalus

Common name: Sperm whales

Classification: Family: Physeteridae

Time: Pliocene to Holocene

Range: Global

Diet: Carnivore

Kingdom: Animalia – Phylum: Chordata – Superclass: Tetrapoda – Class: Mammalia – Order: Artiodactyla – Infraorder: Cetacea – Family: Monodontidae

(Beluga whales)

Late Miocene- Recent

 

Genus and species: Delphinapterus leucas

Common name: Beluga Cow and Calf

Classification: Family: Monodontidae

Time: Quaternary to Holocene

Range: Artic Ocean

Diet: Carnivore

Kingdom: Animalia – Phylum: Chordata – Superclass: Tetrapoda – Class: Mammalia – Order: Artiodactyla – Infraorder: Cetacea – Family Delpinidae

(Oceanic dolphin)

Late Oligocene – Recent

 

Genus and species: Orcinus orca

Common name: Killer whale

Classification: Family: Delphinidae

Time: Pliocene to Holocene

Range: Global

Diet: Carnivore

Genus and species: Tursiops truncatus

Common name: Bottlenose Dolphin

Classification: Family: Delphinidae – Subfamily: Delphiniae

Time: Miocene to Holocene

Range: Global, non polar oceans

Diet: Carnivore

Genus and species: Tursiops truncatus

Common name: Bottlenose Dolphin

Classification: Family: Delphinidae – Subfamily: Delphiniae

Time: Miocene to Holocene

Range: Global, non polar oceans

Diet: Carnivore

Kingdom: Animalia – Phylum: Chordata – Superclass: Tetrapoda – Class: Mammalia – Order: Artiodactyla – Infraorder: Cetacea – Clade: Mysticeti – Family: Balaenopteridae

(Rorquals)

Miocene- Recent

 

Genus and species: Megaptera novaeangliae

Common name: Humpback whale

Classification: Family: Balaenopteridae

Time: Miocene to Holocene

Range: Global

Diet: Filter Feeder

Genus and species: Megaptera novaeangliae

Common name: Humpback whale

Classification: Family: Balaenopteridae

Time: Miocene to Holocene

Range: Global

Diet: Filter Feeder

Genus and species: Balaenoptera borealis

Common name: Sei whale

Classification: Family: Balaenopteridae

Time: Holocene

Range: Global

Diet: Filter Feeder

Genus and species: Balaenoptera musculus

Common name: Blue whale

Classification: Family: Balaenopteridae

Time: Middle Pleistocene to Holocene

Range: Global

Diet: Filter Feeder

Kingdom: Animalia – Phylum: Chordata – Superclass: Tetrapoda – Class: Mammalia – Order: Artiodactyla – Infraorder: Cetacea – Clade: Mysticeti – Family: Eschrichtiidae

(Baleen whales)

Late Miocene- Recent

 

Genus and species: Eschrichtius robustus

Common name: Gray whale

Classification: Family: Eschrichtiidae

Time: Late Pleistocene to Holocene

Range: North American west coast northwest Asian coast

Diet: Filter Feeders

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