Fósseis de 20 milhões de anos revelam duas novas espécies de cetáceos encontrados na Suiça

sábado, maio 21, 2022

First records of extinct kentriodontid and squalodelphinid dolphins from the Upper Marine Molasse (Burdigalian age) of Switzerland and a reappraisal of the Swiss cetacean fauna

Gabriel Aguirre-Fernández ​1, Jürg Jost 2, Sarah Hilfiker 1,3

May 16, 2022

Author and article information

1. Paleontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

2. Zofingen, Switzerland

3. Department of Environmental Systems Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

DOI 10.7717/peerj.13251

Published 2022-05-16

Accepted 2022-03-21

Received 2021-10-01

Academic Editor: Brandon Hedrick

Subject Areas: Evolutionary Studies, Marine Biology, Paleontology, Taxonomy, Zoology

Keywords: Cetacea, Odontoceti, Burdigalian, Upper Marine Molasse, Periotic, Paratethys, Kentriodontidae, Squalodelphinidae, Physeteridae, Kentriodon

Copyright © 2022 Aguirre-Fernández et al.

Figure 2: Families present in the Mediterranean and Paratethys during the Burdigalian according to Bianucci & Landini (2002).


The Swiss Upper Marine Molasse (OMM) documents a transgression event dated to around 21 to 17 million years in which dolphin and other vertebrate remains have been reported. We revised the whole cetacean (whales and dolphins) OMM assemblage available in main collections, focusing on the identification and interpretation of periotics (bone that contains the inner ear). Periotics are rare, but they provide the richest taxonomic information in the sample and hint to environmental associations. Micro-computerized tomography allowed the reconstruction of bony labyrinths for comparisons and environmental interpretations. Three families are represented by periotics: Kentriodontidae, Squalodelphinidae and Physeteridae. The cetacean taxonomic composition of the Swiss OMM reinforces biogeographical patterns reported for the Mediterranean and Paratethys during the Burdigalian at a regional scale and the Calvert cetacean fauna of the northwest Atlantic at oceanic scale.


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