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Temporal range: Early Eocene, 53.5 Ma
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Ambulocetidae
Genus: Himalayacetus
Bajpai & Gingerich, 1998[1]
H. subathuensis
Binomial name
Himalayacetus subathuensis
Bajpai & Gingerich, 1998[1]

Himalayacetus is an extinct genus of carnivorous aquatic mammal of the family Ambulocetidae. The holotype was found in Himachal Pradesh, India, (31°00′N 77°00′E / 31.0°N 77.0°E / 31.0; 77.0: paleocoordinates 3°30′N 69°42′E / 3.5°N 69.7°E / 3.5; 69.7)[2] in what was the remnants of the ancient Tethys Ocean during the Early Eocene. This makes Himalayacetus the oldest archaeocete known, extending the fossil record of whales some 3.5 million years.[3]

Himalayacetus lived in the ancient coastline of the ancient Tethys Ocean before the Indian Plate had collided with the Cimmerian coast. Just like Gandakasia, Himalayacetus is only known from a single jaw fragment, making comparisons to other Ambulocetids difficult.[4]


Upon its discovery, Himalayacetus was described as a pakicetid because the dentary has a small mandibular canal and a dentition similar to Pakicetus.[3] Thewissen, Williams & Hussain 2001 assigned Himalaycetus to the ambulocetids.


Himalayacetus was named by Bajpai & Gingerich 1998. Its type is Himalayacetus subathuensis after the Himalayas, cetus, "whale", and the Subathu Formation, the type locality.[5]


It was considered monophyletic by Uhen (2010). It was assigned to Pakicetidae by Bajpai and Gingerich (1998) and McLeod and Barnes (2008); and to Ambulocetidae by Thewissen et al. (2001) and Uhen (2010).[6]


  1. ^ a b Bajpai & Gingerich 1998.
  2. ^ Kuthar Nala (Eocene of India) in the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved June 2013.
  3. ^ a b Bajpai & Gingerich 1998, Abstract
  4. ^ Thewissen, JGM. "Ambulocetidae: The First Costal Whales". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved February 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ Bajpai & Gingerich 1998, p. 15464
  6. ^ Himalayacetus in the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved June 2013.