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Temporal range: Late Oligocene
Megalampris and Waipatia.jpg
The fish Megalampris (above) and W. maerewhenua (below)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
(unranked): Platanistida
Superfamily: Platanistoidea (?)
Family: Waipatiidae
Fordyce, 1994
Genus: Waipatia
Fordyce, 1994
  • W. maerewhenua Fordyce, 1994[1]
  • W. hectori (Benham, 1935)

Waipatia is an extinct genus of whale from the late Oligocene (Chattian) of New Zealand.


The type species, Waipatia maerewhenua is known from a single skull found near 45° South in Otago .[2] The second species, W. hectori, was originally named Microcetus hectori in 1935, but later recognized as distinct from Microcetus.[3][4] "Uncamentodon" was informally coined for M. hectori in a table by Rothausen in a 1970 paper, but the lack of a diagnosis or description made it a nomen nudum. Finally in 2015, M. hectori was recognized as a second species of Waipatia based on preparation of additional material included in the holotype.[5]


  1. ^ R. E. Fordyce (1994). "Waipatia maerewhenua, new genus and new species (Waipatiidae, new family), an archaic Late Oligocene dolphin (Cetacea: Odontoceti: Platanistoidea) from New Zealand". In A. Berta & T. Deméré. Contributions in marine mammal paleontology honoring Frank C. Whitmore, Jr. (Proceedings of the San Diego Museum of Natural History, 29) (PDF). pp. 147–176. 
  2. ^ R. Ewan Fordyce. "Waipatia maerewhenua — a small archaic dolphin from the Oligocene of New Zealand". University of Otago. 
  3. ^ W. B. Benham. 1935. The teeth of an extinct whale, Microcetus hectori n. sp. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 65:239-243
  4. ^ K. Rothausen. 1961. Ueber Microcetus, einen kleinen Squalodontiden aus dem Oberoligozaen. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Abhandlungen 112(1):106-116
  5. ^ Y. Tanaka and R. E. Fordyce. 2015. Historically significant late Oligocene dolphin Microcetus hectori Benham 1935: a new species of Waipatia (Platanistoidea). Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Further reading[edit]

  • Marine Mammals: Evolutionary Biology by Annalisa Berta, James L. Sumich, and Kit M. Kovacs
  • Aquagenesis: The Origin and Evolution of Life in the Sea by Richard Ellis
  • Wildlife of Gondwana: Dinosaurs and Other Vertebrates from the Ancient Supercontinent (Life of the Past) by Pat Vickers Rich, Thomas Hewitt Rich, Francesco Coffa, and Steven Morton
  • Marine Mammal Biology: An Evolutionary Approach by A. Rus Hoelzel