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Temporal range: Early Miocene to Recent [1]
The magnificent Ganges River Dolphin.jpg
Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Superfamily: Platanistoidea
Family: Platanistidae
J. E. Gray, 1846

Platanistidae is a family of river dolphins containing the extant Ganges river dolphin and Indus river dolphin (both in the genus Platanista) but also extinct relatives from marine deposits in the Neogene.[2]

The Amazon river dolphin, Yangtze river dolphin, and franciscana were once thought to belong to Platanistidae (e.g. Simpson, 1945), but cladistic and DNA studies beginning in the 1990s showed that the former three taxa are more closely related to Delphinoidea than to the South Asian river dolphin.[3][4] The extinct odontocete families Allodelphinidae and Squalodelphinidae are closely related to Platanistidae.[5] Fossils from this clade have been found in deposits in North and South America, Europe, and Central Asia.[6]


  1. ^ "†Zarhachis flagellator Cope 1868 (toothed whale)".
  2. ^ L. G. Barnes. 2006. A phylogenetic analysis of the superfamily Platanistoidea (Mammalia, Cetacea, Odontoceti). Beitrage zur Palaontologie 30:25-42
  3. ^ G. G. Simpson. 1945. The principles of classification and a classification of mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 85:1-350.
  4. ^ Hrbek T, da Silva VMF, Dutra N, Gravena W, Martin AR, Farias IP (2014) A New Species of River Dolphin from Brazil or: How Little Do We Know Our Biodiversity. PLoS ONE 9(1): e83623.
  5. ^ Boersma, A.; Pyenson, N. D. (2016). "Arktocara yakataga, a new fossil odontocete (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Oligocene of Alaska and the antiquity of Platanistoidea". Peer J. 4: e2321. doi:10.7717/peerj.2321. PMC 4991871. PMID 27602287.
  6. ^ "Family Platanistidae Gray 1846". PBDB.