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Temporal range: Miocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Physeteridae
Genus: Orycterocetus
Leidy, 1853
  • O. quadratidens Leidy, 1853 (type species)
  • O. crocodilinus Cope, 1868
  • O. cornutidens Leidy, 1856

Orycterocetus is an extinct genus of sperm whale from the Miocene of the northern Atlantic Ocean.


Orycterocetus is a member of Physeteroidea closely related to crown-group sperm whales. The type species, O. quadratidens, was first named by Joseph Leidy on the basis of two teeth, two partial mandibular rami, and a rib from Neogene deposits of Virginia.[1] Two more species were subsequently described, O. cornutidens Leidy 1856[2] and O. crocodilinus Cope, 1868,[3] the latter from the middle Miocene Calvert Formation.


  1. ^ J. Leidy. 1853. [Observations on extinct Cetacea]. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences 6:377-378
  2. ^ J. Leidy. 1856. Notice of remains of extinct vertebrated animals discovered by Professor E. Emmons. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 8:255-257
  3. ^ E. D. Cope. 1867. An addition to the vertebrate fauna of the Miocene period, with a synopsis of the extinct Cetacea of the United States. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 19(4):138-157


  • Cenozoic Seas: The View From Eastern North America by Edward J. Petuch
  • Marine Mammals: Evolutionary Biology by Annalisa Berta and James L. Sumich