List of extinct cetaceans

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The list of extinct cetaceans features the extinct genera and species of the order Cetacea. The cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are descendants of land-living mammals, the even-toed ungulates. The earliest cetaceans were still hoofed-mammals. These early cetaceans became gradually better adapted for swimming than for walking on land, finally evolving into fully marine cetaceans.

This list currently includes only fossil genera and species. However, the Atlantic population of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) became extinct in the 18th century, and the baiji (or Chinese river dolphin, Lipotes vexillifer) was declared "functionally extinct" after an expedition in late 2006 failed to find any in the Yangtze River.


Suborder Archaeoceti[edit]

Family Ambulocetidae[edit]


Family Basilosauridae[edit]

(Late Eocene)

Basilosaurus cetoides reconstruction

Family Kekenodontidae[edit]


Family Pakicetidae[edit]

(Early to Middle Eocene)

Ambulocetus skeleton in front and Pakicetus behind

Family Protocetidae[edit]


Rhodocetus kasrani reconstruction

Family Remingtonocetidae[edit]


Suborder Mysticeti[edit]

Family Aetiocetidae[edit]


Aetiocetus restoration

Family Llanocetidae[edit]

(Late Eocene)

Family Mammalodontidae[edit]

(jr synonym Janjucetidae)

(Late Oligocene)

Family Mystacodontidae[edit]

(Late Eocene)

Family incertae sedis[edit]

Clade Chaeomysticeti[edit]

Superfamily Eomysticetoidea[edit]

Family Cetotheriopsidae[edit]

(Oligocene to Miocene)

Family Eomysticetidae[edit]

(Oligocene to early Miocene)

Family Aglaocetidae[edit]


Superfamily Balaenoidea[edit]

Family Balaenidae[edit]

(Oligocene to Recent)

Family incertae sedis[edit]

Clade Thalassotherii[edit]

Family Cetotheriidae[edit]

(Miocene - Pliocene)

Classification follows Steeman, 2007.[8]

Cetotherium restoration
Family Diorocetidae[edit]

(Miocene to Pliocene)

Family Neobalaenidae[edit]

(Miocene to Recent)

Family Pelocetidae[edit]


Family incertae sedis[edit]
Superfamily Balaenopteroidea[edit]
Eobalaenoptera skeleton
Family Balaenopteridae[edit]

(Miocene to Recent)

Family Eschrichtiidae[edit]

(Miocene to Recent)

Family Tranatocetidae[edit]

Family incertae sedis[edit]

Suborder Odontoceti[edit]

Basal forms[edit]

Family Agorophiidae[edit]

(Late Oligocene)

Family Ashleycetidae[edit]

(Early Oligocene)

Family Mirocetidae[edit]

(Early Oligocene)

Family Patriocetidae[edit]

(Oligocene to Early Miocene)

Family Simocetidae[edit]

(Late Oligocene)

Family Xenorophidae[edit]


Family Inticetidae[edit]

Superfamily Squalodontoidea[edit]

Family Dalpiazinidae[edit]

(Late Oligocene to Miocene)

Family Prosqualodontidae[edit]

(Oligocene to Miocene)

Family Squalodontidae[edit]

(Oligocene to Pliocene)

Superfamily Physeteroidea[edit]

Family Kogiidae[edit]

(Miocene to recent)

Family Physeteridae[edit]

Family incertae sedis[edit]

Superfamily "Eurhinodelphinoidea"[edit]

Family Argyrocetidae[edit]

(Late Oligocene to Early Miocene)

Family Eoplatanistidae[edit]


Family Eurhinodelphinidae[edit]

(Mid Miocene to Pliocene)

Superfamily Platanistoidea[edit]

Family Allodelphinidae[edit]

(Early to Middle Miocene)

Life reconstruction of Arktocara yakataga

Family Platanistidae[edit]

(Miocene to Recent)

Family Squalodelphinidae[edit]

(Early to Late Miocene)

Family Waipatiidae[edit]

Superfamily Ziphioidea[edit]

Family Squaloziphiidae[edit]

(Early Miocene)

Family Ziphiidae[edit]

(Miocene to Recent)

Clade Delphinida[edit]

Superfamily Delphinoidea[edit]

Family Albireonidae[edit]

(Miocene to Pliocene)

Family Delphinidae[edit]
Etruridelphis giulii

(Oligocene to Recent)

Family "Kentriodontidae"[edit]

(Late Oligocene - Middle Miocene)

Kentriodon reconstruction
Family Monodontidae[edit]

(Miocene to Pliocene)

Family Odobenocetopsidae[edit]


Odobenocetops reconstruction
Family Phocoenidae[edit]

(Miocene to Recent)

Family incertae sedis[edit]

Superfamily Inioidea[edit]

Family Iniidae[edit]
Family Pontoporiidae[edit]

(Middle Miocene to Recent)

Superfamily Lipotoidea[edit]

Family Lipotidae[edit]

(Miocene to Recent)

Superfamily incertae sedis[edit]

Family incertae sedis[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gingerich, P.D. et al. 2001. Origin of Whales from Early Artiodactyls: Hands and Feet of Eocene Protocetidae from Pakistan. (19 September 2001). Science doi:10.1126/science.1063902.
  3. ^ a b Sunil Bajpai and J.G.M. Thewissen (2014). "Protocetid cetaceans (Mammalia) from the Eocene of India". Palaeontologia Electronica 17 (3): Article number 17.3.34A.
  4. ^ Philip D. Gingerich and Henri Cappetta (2014). "A New Archaeocete and Other Marine Mammals (Cetacea and Sirenia) from Lower Middle Eocene Phosphate Deposits of Togo". Journal of Paleontology. 88 (1): 109–129. doi:10.1666/13-040. 
  5. ^ Ryan M. Bebej, Iyad S. Zalmout, Ahmed A. Abed El-Aziz, Mohammed Sameh M. Antar and Philip D. Gingerich (2016). "First remingtonocetid archaeocete (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the middle Eocene of Egypt with implications for biogeography and locomotion in early cetacean evolution". Journal of Paleontology. in press. doi:10.1017/jpa.2015.57.
  6. ^ Felix G. Marx, Cheng-Hsiu Tsai and R. Ewan Fordyce (2015). "A new Early Oligocene toothed ‘baleen’ whale (Mysticeti: Aetiocetidae) from western North America: one of the oldest and the smallest". Royal Society Open Science 2 (12): 150476. doi:10.1098/rsos.150476.
  7. ^ Jonathan H. Geisler; Robert W. Boessenecker; Mace Brown; Brian L. Beatty (2017). "The Origin of Filter Feeding in Whales". Current Biology. in press. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.003.
  8. ^ M. E. Steeman (2007). "Cladistic analysis and a revised classification of fossil and recent mysticetes". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 150 (4): 875–894. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00313.x. 
  9. ^ Otsuka, H.; Ota, Y. (2008). "Cetotheres from the early Middle Miocene Bihoku Group in Shobara District, Hiroshima Prefecture, West Japan". Miscellaneous Reports of the Hiwa Museum for Natural History. 49 (2): 1–66. 
  10. ^ Kimura, T.; Hasegawa, Y. (2010). "A new baleen whale (Mysticeti: Cetotheriidae) from the earliest late Miocene of Japan and a reconsideration of the phylogeny of cetotheres.". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30 (2): 577–591. doi:10.1080/02724631003621912. 
  11. ^ Bouetel, V.; Muizon, C. de (2006). pdf "The anatomy and relationships of Piscobalaena nana (Cetacea, Mysticeti), a Cetotheriidae s.s. from the early Pliocene of Peru." Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Geodiversitas. 28 (2): 319–395. 
  12. ^ Bisconti, M. (2006). "Titanocetus, a new baleen whale from the middle Miocene of northern Italy (Mammalia, Cetacea, Mysticeti).". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 26 (2): 344–354. JSTOR 4524574. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2006)26[344:tanbwf];2. 
  13. ^ K. K. Tarasenko (2014). "Novye rody usatykh kitov (Cetacea, Mammalia) iz miotsena Severnogo Kavkaza i Predkavkaz'ya. 3. Zygiocetus gen. nov. (srednii sarmat, Adygeya)". Paleontological Journal 48 (5).
  14. ^ Robert W. Boessenecker (2013). "A new marine vertebrate assemblage from the Late Neogene Purisima Formation in Central California, part II: Pinnipeds and Cetaceans". Geodiversitas. 35 (4): 815–940. doi:10.5252/g2013n4a5. 
  15. ^ Bisconti, M. and Bosselaers, M. (2016), Fragilicetus velponi: a new mysticete genus and species and its implications for the origin of Balaenopteridae (Mammalia, Cetacea, Mysticeti). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 177: 450–474. doi: 10.1111/zoj.12370
  16. ^ Kellogg, R. (1934). "A new cetothere from the Modelo Formation at Los Angeles, California.". Carnegie Institution of Washington. 447: 83–104. 
  17. ^ Carlos Mauricio Peredo; Mark D. Uhen (2016). "A new basal chaeomysticete (Mammalia: Cetacea) from the Late Oligocene Pysht Formation of Washington, USA". Papers in Palaeontology. Online edition. doi:10.1002/spp2.1051
  18. ^ Tsai CH, Fordyce RE 2016. Archaic baleen whale from the Kokoamu Greensand: earbones distinguish a new late Oligocene mysticete (Cetacea: Mysticeti) from New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. doi:10.1080/03036758.2016.1156552
  19. ^
  20. ^ Fitzgerald, E.M.G. 2004. A review of the Tertiary fossil Cetacea (Mammalia) localities in Australia. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 61(2): 183-208.
  21. ^ Lambert, O., G. Bianucci, K. Post, C. de Muizon, R. Salas-Gismondi, M. Urbina & J. Reumer. (2010). The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru. Nature 466: 105–108. doi:10.1038/nature09067
  22. ^ Yoshihiro Tanaka; R. Ewan Fordyce (2016). "Awamokoa tokarahi, a new basal dolphin in the Platanistoidea (late Oligocene, New Zealand)". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Online edition. doi:10.1080/14772019.2016.1202339.
  23. ^ a b Kimura, T. and Barnes, L.G., 2016. New Miocene fossil Allodelphinidae(Cetacea, Odontoceti, Platanistoidea) from the North Pacific Ocean. Bulletin of the Gunma Museum of Natural History 20:1-58.
  24. ^ Olivier Lambert, Giovanni Bianucci, Mario Urbina, 2014. Huaridelphis raimondii, a new early Miocene Squalodelphinidae (Cetacea, Odontoceti) from the Chilcatay Formation, Peru. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34 (5):987-1004.
  25. ^ Gabriel Aguirre-Fernández and R. Ewan Fordyce (2014). "Papahu taitapu, gen. et sp. nov., an early Miocene stem odontocete (Cetacea) from New Zealand". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34 (1): 195–210. doi:10.1080/02724634.2013.799069. 
  26. ^ Lambert, O., and S. Louwye. 2016. A new early Pliocene species of Mesoplodon: a calibration mark for the radiation of this species-rich beaked whale genus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2015.1055754.
  27. ^ Klaas Post & Erwin J.O. Kompanje (2010). "A new dolphin (Cetacea, Delphinidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene of the North Sea". Deinsea 14: 1–13. ISSN 0923-9308.
  28. ^ Giovanni Bianucci (2013). "Septidelphis morii, n. gen. et sp., from the Pliocene of Italy: new evidence of the explosive radiation of true dolphins (Odontoceti, Delphinidae)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 33 (3): 722–740. doi:10.1080/02724634.2013.744757. 
  29. ^ Rachel A. Racicot, Thomas A. Deméré, Brian L. Beatty, Robert W. Boessenecker. Unique Feeding Morphology in a New Prognathous Extinct Porpoise from the Pliocene of California. Current Biology, 13 March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.02.031
  30. ^ Olivier Lambert; Giovanni Bianucci; Mario Urbina; Jonathan H. Geisler (2017). "A new inioid (Cetacea, Odontoceti, Delphinida) from the Miocene of Peru and the origin of modern dolphin and porpoise families". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 179 (4): 919–946. doi:10.1111/zoj.12479.

External links[edit]