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Bony outgrowths on the jaws of an extinct sperm whale support macroraptorial feeding in several stem physeteroids
Lambert, O.; Bianucci, G; Beatty, L (2014). Bony outgrowths on the jaws of an extinct sperm whale support macroraptorial feeding in several stem physeteroids. Naturwissenschaften 101(6): 517-521. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00114-014-1182-2
In: Naturwissenschaften. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0028-1042; e-ISSN 1432-1904
Peer reviewed article  

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Trefwoorden
    Cetacea [WoRMS]; Kogia Gray, 1846 [WoRMS]; Physeteroidea
    Marien
Author keywords
    Cetacea; Physeteroidea; Buccal exostoses; Feeding; Macroraptorial

Auteurs  Top 
  • Lambert, O.
  • Bianucci, G.
  • Beatty, L

Abstract
    Several extinct sperm whales (stem Physeteroidea) were recently proposed to differ markedly in their feeding ecology from the suction-feeding modern sperm whales Kogia and Physeter. Based on cranial, mandibular, and dental morphology, these Miocene forms were tentatively identified as macroraptorial feeders, able to consume proportionally large prey using their massive teeth and robust jaws. However, until now, no corroborating evidence for the use of teeth during predation was available. We report on a new specimen of the stem physeteroid Acrophyseter, from the late middle to early late Miocene of Peru, displaying unusual bony outgrowths along some of the upper alveoli. Considering their position and outer shape, these are identified as buccal maxillary exostoses. More developed along posterior teeth and in tight contact with the high portion of the dental root outside the bony alveoli, the exostoses are hypothesized to have developed during powerful bites; they may have worked as buttresses, strengthening the teeth when facing intense occlusal forces. These buccal exostoses further support a raptorial feeding technique for Acrophyseter and, indirectly, for other extinct sperm whales with a similar oral apparatus (Brygmophyseter, Livyatan, Zygophyseter). With a wide size range, these Miocene stem physeteroids were major marine macropredators, occupying ecological niches nowadays mostly taken by killer whales.

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