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Cetotherium: Wikis


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Fossil range: Miocene - Pliocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Mysticeti
Family: Cetotheriidae
Brandt, 1873
Genus: Cetotherium

Cetotherium is a genus of the extinct cetaceans from the family Cetotherrids (also dubbed as Cetotheres).[1]


Known species

To date, several whales of the genus Cetotherium have been identified (e.g. C. furlongi, C. mayeri, C. megalophysum, C. parvum, C. priscum, and C. rathkii).

Evolutionary ties

All modern mysticetes are large filter-feeding or baleen whale, though the exact means by which baleen are used differ among species (gulp-feeding with balaenopterids, skim-feeding with balaenids, and bottom ploughing with eschrichtiids). The first members of some modern groups appeared during the middle Miocene. These changes may have been a result of worldwide environmental change and physical changes in the oceans. A large scale change in ocean current and temperature could have initiated the radiation of modern mysticetes, leading to the demise of the archaic forms. Generally it is thought the four modern mysticete families have separate origins among the cetotheres, however this is only speculative. Modern baleen whales, [Balaenopteridae (rorquals and humpback whale, Megaptera novaengliae), Balaenidae (right whales), Eschrichtiidae (gray whale, Eschrictius robustus), and Neobalaenidae (pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata) all have derived characteristics presently unknown in any cetothere.

Potential threats

Fossil records of Cetotheriids indicate that these whales were attacked and preyed upon by large predatory sharks (e.g. Megalodon, and Carharodon sp.).

General References

  • Barry Cox, Colin Harrison, R.J.G. Savage, and Brian Gardiner. (1999): The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures: A Visual Who's Who of Prehistoric Life. Simon & Schuster.


See also



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