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Temporal range: Middle Miocene
Desmatophoca oregonensis.jpg
Desmatophoca oregonense
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Desmatophocidae
Genus: Desmatophoca
Condon, 1906
  • D. brachycephala Barnes, 1987
  • D. oregonensis Condon, 1906 (type species)

Desmatophoca is an extinct genus of pinniped.

This poorly known fossil pinniped is a member of the true seal-like extinct pinniped family, the Desmatophocidae. Unlike modern true seals, it had a tail, although this was relatively short. It had large eyes, and presumably hunted by sight, and its ears do not appear to have been adapted for hearing underwater.[1]

Desmatophoca oregonensis was one of the first known fossil pinnipeds from the west coast of North America, and it is now known by several skulls, jaws, and forelimb elements from the Oregon coast. It had lost the primitive shearing carnassials of older pinnipeds like Enaliarctos, which indicates that it was able to feed and ingest fish underwater without having to return to land.


  1. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 227. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.