A new miocene baleen whale from Peru deciphers the dawn of cetotheriids

Felix G. Marx, Olivier Lambert, Christian de Muizon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Cetotheriidae are an iconic, nearly extinct family of baleen whales (Mysticeti) with a highly distinct cranial morphology. Their origins remain a mystery, with even the most archaic species showing a variety of characteristic features. Here, we describe a new species of archaic cetotheriid, Tiucetus rosae, from the Miocene of Peru. The new material represents the first mysticete from the poorly explored lowest portion of the highly fossiliferous Pisco Formation (allomember P0), and appears to form part of a more archaic assemblage than observed at the well-known localities of Cerro Colorado, Cerro los Quesos, Sud-Sacaco and Aguada de Lomas. Tiucetus resembles basal plicogulans (crown Mysticeti excluding right whales), such as Diorocetus and Parietobalaena, but shares with cetotheriids a distinct morphology of the auditory region, including the presence of an enlarged paroccipital concavity. The distinctive morphology of Tiucetus firmly places Cetotheriidae in the context of the poorly understood ‘cetotheres’ sensu lato, and helps to resolve basal relationships within crown Mysticeti.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170560
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2017


  • Baleen whale
  • Cetotheriidae
  • Evolution
  • Mysticeti
  • Phylogeny
  • Pisco formation

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