|EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 (GMT) WEDNESDAY 2 DECEMBER 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
We describe Fucaia buelli, a fossil baleen whale (Mysticeti) that lived 30-33 million years ago in the North Pacific Ocean. Fucaia is one of the oldest baleen whales ever found and, at a length of about 2 m, also one of the smallest. Unlike its living relatives, which use comb-like baleen plates to filter krill from the surrounding water, Fucaia had well-developed teeth which it used to actively hunt and chew its prey. Once captured, prey was likely sucked deeper into the mouth for swallowing – a technique which, ultimately, may have given rise to baleen and modern mysticete filter feeding.
Contact: Dr Felix Marx, University of Otago, firstname.lastname@example.org,
URL after publication: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rsos.150476