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Sample records for cetacea

  1. Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGowen, Michael R; Gatesy, John; Wildman, Derek E

    2014-06-01

    Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a model group for investigating the molecular signature of macroevolutionary transitions. Recent research has begun to reveal the molecular underpinnings of the remarkable anatomical and behavioral transformation in this clade. This shift from terrestrial to aquatic environments is arguably the best-understood major morphological transition in vertebrate evolution. The ancestral body plan and physiology were extensively modified and, in many cases, these crucial changes are recorded in cetacean genomes. Recent studies have highlighted cetaceans as central to understanding adaptive molecular convergence and pseudogene formation. Here, we review current research in cetacean molecular evolution and the potential of Cetacea as a model for the study of other macroevolutionary transitions from a genomic perspective.

  2. On some phenomena concerning pregnancy and parturition of the Cetacea

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Slijper, E.J.

    1949-01-01

    1. A review is given of some phenomena concerning pregnancy and parturition of the Cetacea, depending on data in literature and on observations made in Antarctic Blue and Fin Whales on board the f.f. “Willem Barendsz” (1946—1947). 2. In Mystacoceti the frequency of twins appears to be less than in m

  3. Phylogenetic relationships among the true porpoises (Cetacea:Phocoenidae).

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    Rosel, P E; Haygood, M G; Perrin, W F

    1995-12-01

    Portions of the cytochrome b gene and control region of the mitochondrial DNA molecule were sequenced to investigate systematic relationships among the six extant species of true porpoises, (Cetacea: Phocoenidae). Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences support a close relationship between Burmeister's porpoise, Phocoena spinipinnis, and the vaquita, Phocoena sinus, and the association of these two species with the spectacled porpoise, Australophocaena dioptrica. The latter result is not in concordance with a recent morphological reclassification which groups A. dioptrica with Dall's porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli, in the subfamily Phocoenoidinae. The molecular analysis found no support for this grouping. A. dioptrica was originally described as a member of the genus Phocoena, and our results support returning it to that genus at this time. Finally, the data suggest that the tropical species Neophocaena phocaenoides, the finless porpoise, may represent the most basal member of the family. The control region sequences corroborated the relationships among the closely related taxa P. sinus, P. spinipinnis, and A. dioptrica, but were unable to resolve the deeper branches of the tree, probably as a result of a high level of saturation of these sequences. PMID:8747302

  4. KONSERVASI MAMALIA LAUT (CETACEA DI PERAIRAN LAUT SAWU NUSA TENGGARA TIMUR

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    Dafiuddin Salim

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Perairan Indonesia merupakan daerah ruaya (migrationdari jenis-jenis mamalia laut (marine mammals seperti paus, lumba-lumba dan ikan duyung, terutama di wilayah Indonesia bagian timur.Cetacea dan berbagai jenis biota laut peruaya lainnya termasuk jenis penyu hingga saat ini keberadaannya semakin terancam.Pemerintah Indonesia, melalui Departemen Kelautan dan Perikanan melakukan upaya perlindungan spesies bagi mamalia laut dengan membentuk dan menetapkan kawasan konservasi Laut Sawu sebagai Kawasan Konservasi Perairan Nasional (KKNP.Penetapan suatu kawasan menjadi kawasan yang dilindungi tidak lepas dari kendala dan hambatan yang dihadapinya, tetapi hambatan dan kendala ini dapat dijadikan suatu tantangan dalam mengelola sumberdaya alam yang lebih efektif.Pengelolaan yang efektif bagi mamalia laut yakni dengan tetap melindungi ekosistem dan habitatnya, melakukan penelitian dan monitoring, pemantauan terhadap illegal fishing maupun destructive fishing.Kata Kunci :Cetacea, Konservasi, Tantangan, Pengelolaan efektif

  5. A bizarre new toothed mysticete (Cetacea) from Australia and the early evolution of baleen whales

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    Fitzgerald, Erich M. G.

    2006-01-01

    Extant baleen whales (Cetacea, Mysticeti) are all large filter-feeding marine mammals that lack teeth as adults, instead possessing baleen, and feed on small marine animals in bulk. The early evolution of these superlative mammals, and their unique feeding method, has hitherto remained enigmatic. Here, I report a new toothed mysticete from the Late Oligocene of Australia that is more archaic than any previously described. Unlike all other mysticetes, this new whale was small, had enormous eye...

  6. On the description and the taxonomic status of Delphinus holboellii Nilsson, 1847 (Notes on Cetacea, Delphinoidea VI)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bree, van P.J.H.

    1973-01-01

    Delphinus holboellii Nilsson, 1847 is a junior synonym of Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyen, 1833). The species is based on the complete skeleton of a juvenile specimen with an exceptionally high number of teeth. Attention is drawn to shrinkage in preserved skulls of Cetacea in the course of time.

  7. Relationships of Cetacea (Artiodactyla among mammals: increased taxon sampling alters interpretations of key fossils and character evolution.

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    Michelle Spaulding

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Integration of diverse data (molecules, fossils provides the most robust test of the phylogeny of cetaceans. Positioning key fossils is critical for reconstructing the character change from life on land to life in the water. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We reexamine relationships of critical extinct taxa that impact our understanding of the origin of Cetacea. We do this in the context of the largest total evidence analysis of morphological and molecular information for Artiodactyla (661 phenotypic characters and 46,587 molecular characters, coded for 33 extant and 48 extinct taxa. We score morphological data for Carnivoramorpha, Creodonta, Lipotyphla, and the raoellid artiodactylan Indohyus and concentrate on determining which fossils are positioned along stem lineages to major artiodactylan crown clades. Shortest trees place Cetacea within Artiodactyla and close to Indohyus, with Mesonychia outside of Artiodactyla. The relationships of Mesonychia and Indohyus are highly unstable, however--in trees only two steps longer than minimum length, Mesonychia falls inside Artiodactyla and displaces Indohyus from a position close to Cetacea. Trees based only on data that fossilize continue to show the classic arrangement of relationships within Artiodactyla with Cetacea grouping outside the clade, a signal incongruent with the molecular data that dominate the total evidence result. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Integration of new fossil material of Indohyus impacts placement of another extinct clade Mesonychia, pushing it much farther down the tree. The phylogenetic position of Indohyus suggests that the cetacean stem lineage included herbivorous and carnivorous aquatic species. We also conclude that extinct members of Cetancodonta (whales+hippopotamids shared a derived ability to hear underwater sounds, even though several cetancodontans lack a pachyostotic auditory bulla. We revise the taxonomy of living and extinct artiodactylans and

  8. Relationships of Cetacea (Artiodactyla) Among Mammals: Increased Taxon Sampling Alters Interpretations of Key Fossils and Character Evolution

    OpenAIRE

    Michelle Spaulding; Maureen A O'Leary; John Gatesy

    2009-01-01

    Background Integration of diverse data (molecules, fossils) provides the most robust test of the phylogeny of cetaceans. Positioning key fossils is critical for reconstructing the character change from life on land to life in the water. Methodology/Principal Findings We reexamine relationships of critical extinct taxa that impact our understanding of the origin of Cetacea. We do this in the context of the largest total evidence analysis of morphological and molecular information for Artiodact...

  9. A supermatrix analysis of genomic, morphological, and paleontological data from crown Cetacea

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    Yang Guang

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Cetacea (dolphins, porpoises, and whales is a clade of aquatic species that includes the most massive, deepest diving, and largest brained mammals. Understanding the temporal pattern of diversification in the group as well as the evolution of cetacean anatomy and behavior requires a robust and well-resolved phylogenetic hypothesis. Although a large body of molecular data has accumulated over the past 20 years, DNA sequences of cetaceans have not been directly integrated with the rich, cetacean fossil record to reconcile discrepancies among molecular and morphological characters. Results We combined new nuclear DNA sequences, including segments of six genes (~2800 basepairs from the functionally extinct Yangtze River dolphin, with an expanded morphological matrix and published genomic data. Diverse analyses of these data resolved the relationships of 74 taxa that represent all extant families and 11 extinct families of Cetacea. The resulting supermatrix (61,155 characters and its sub-partitions were analyzed using parsimony methods. Bayesian and maximum likelihood (ML searches were conducted on the molecular partition, and a molecular scaffold obtained from these searches was used to constrain a parsimony search of the morphological partition. Based on analysis of the supermatrix and model-based analyses of the molecular partition, we found overwhelming support for 15 extant clades. When extinct taxa are included, we recovered trees that are significantly correlated with the fossil record. These trees were used to reconstruct the timing of cetacean diversification and the evolution of characters shared by "river dolphins," a non-monophyletic set of species according to all of our phylogenetic analyses. Conclusions The parsimony analysis of the supermatrix and the analysis of morphology constrained to fit the ML/Bayesian molecular tree yielded broadly congruent phylogenetic hypotheses. In trees from both analyses, all Oligocene

  10. New fauna of archaeocete whales (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Bartonian middle Eocene of southern Morocco

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    Gingerich, Philip D.; Zouhri, Samir

    2015-11-01

    Six genera and species of archaic whales are present in a new fauna from the Aridal Formation at Gueran in the Sahara Desert of southwestern Morocco. Three of the archaeocete species represent semiaquatic Protocetidae and three species are fully aquatic Basilosauridae. Protocetids are characteristic of Lutetian lower middle Eocene strata, and basilosaurids are characteristic of Priabonian late Eocene beds. Similar representation of both families is restricted to intervening Bartonian strata and indicative of a late middle Eocene age. Archaeocetes from Gueran include (1) a small protocetid represented by a partial humerus, teeth, and vertebrae; (2) a middle-sized protocetid represented by a partial innominate and proximal femur; (3) the very large protocetid Pappocetus lugardi represented by teeth, a partial innominate, and two partial femora; (4) a new species of the small basilosaurid Chrysocetus represented by a dentary, teeth, humeri, and many vertebrae; (5) a new species of the larger basilosaurid Platyosphys (resurrected as a distinct genus) represented by a partial braincase, tympanic bulla, and many vertebrae; and (6) the large basilosaurid Eocetus schweinfurthi represented by teeth, a tympanic bulla, and lumbar vertebrae. The Gueran locality is important geologically because it constrains the age of a part of the Aridal Formation, and biologically because it includes a diversity of archaic whales represented by partial skeletons with vertebrae in sequence and by forelimb and hind limb remains. With further collecting, Gueran archaeocete skeletons promise to clarify the important evolutionary transition from foot-powered swimming in Protocetidae to the tail-powered swimming of Basilosauridae and all later Cetacea.

  11. First stranding records of Ziphius cavirostris (Cetacea, Odontoceti on the coast of Espírito Santo, Brazil

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    Luis Felipe Silva Pereira Mayorga

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available This study presents the first stranding records of Ziphius cavirostris (Ziphius cavirostris Cuvier, 1823 (Cetacea, Odontoceti in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. The first occurrence was recorded in the second half of 2007 on Trindade Island (20°30’46,82”S, 29°18’26,32”O, a volcanic island located 1.167km away from the mainland, where morphometric data were not collected. The other occurrence was recorded in the second half of 2009 in the city of Vila Velha (20º22’570”S, 40º18’292”O, where morphometric data were collected.

  12. Aspectos histológicos do trato digestivo de Sotalia fluviatilis (Cetacea, Delphinidae: esôfago e estômago

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    Paulo de Tarso da C. Chaves

    1988-07-01

    Full Text Available Os esôfagos e estômagos de seis botos tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis (Cetacea: Delphinidae foram examinados anatômica e microscopicamente e comparados com os de botos marinhos do mesmo gênero. O esôfago é um simples tubo distensível e macroscopicamente uniforme até sua junção com o estômago. Este boto tem um estômago tricompartimentado: uma parte anterior ou muscular; uma principal, glandular; e uma pilórica. As características anatomo-funcionais de cada compartimento são descritas. Não se achou esfíncter entre o esôfago e o estômago. Em comparação com os delfinídeos marinhos, não há adaptações, por parte de Sotalia, à invasão relativamente recente do ambiente de água doce.The oesophagus and stomachs of six tucuxi dolphins, Sotalia fluviatilis (Cetacea: Delphinidae were examined anatomically and microscopically and compared with marine dolphins of the same genus. The oesophagus is a simple distendable tube and is macroscopically uniform to its junctureh with te stomach. This dolphin has a three-compartmented stomach: an anterior or muscular compartment; a principal one, which is glandular; and the pyloric part. The anatomical and functional characteristics of each compartment is described. No sphincter was found between the oesophagus and the stomach. In comparison with marine delphinids there are no adaptations specific to the relatively recent invasion of the fresh-water environment by Sotalia.

  13. A highly polymorphic insertion in the Y-chromosome amelogenin gene can be used for evolutionary biology, population genetics and sexing in Cetacea and Artiodactyla

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    Crouau-Roy Brigitte

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The early radiation of the Cetartiodactyla is complex, and unambiguous molecular characters are needed to clarify the positions of hippotamuses, camels and pigs relative to the remaining taxa (Cetacea and Ruminantia. There is also a need for informative genealogic markers for Y-chromosome population genetics as well as a sexing method applicable to all species from this group. We therefore studied the sequence variation of a partial sequence of the evolutionary conserved amelogenin gene to assess its potential use in each of these fields. Results and discussion We report a large interstitial insertion in the Y amelogenin locus in most of the Cetartiodactyla lineages (cetaceans and ruminants. This sex-linked size polymorphism is the result of a 460–465 bp inserted element in intron 4 of the amelogenin gene of Ruminants and Cetaceans. Therefore, this polymorphism can easily be used in a sexing assay for these species. When taking into account this shared character in addition to nucleotide sequence, gene genealogy follows sex-chromosome divergence in Cetartiodactyla whereas it is more congruent with zoological history when ignoring these characters. This could be related to a loss of homology between chromosomal copies given the old age of the insertion. The 1 kbp Amel-Y amplified fragment is also characterized by high nucleotide diversity (64 polymorphic sites spanning over 1 kbp in seven haplotypes which is greater than for other Y-chromosome sequence markers studied so far but less than the mitochondrial control region. Conclusion The gender-dependent polymorphism we have identified is relevant not only for phylogenic inference within the Cetartiodactyla but also for Y-chromosome based population genetics and gender determination in cetaceans and ruminants. One single protocol can therefore be used for studies in population and evolutionary genetics, reproductive biotechnologies, and forensic science.

  14. Catalog of type specimens of recent mammals: Orders Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Cetacea in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

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    Fisher, Robert D.; Ludwig, Craig A.

    2016-01-01

    The type collection of Recent mammals in the Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, contains 612 specimens bearing names of 604 species-group taxa of Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Cetacea as of May 2016. This catalog presents an annotated list of these holdings comprising 582 holotypes; 16 lectotypes, two of which are newly designated herein; 7 syntypes (15 specimens); and 1 neotype. Included are several specimens that should be in the collection but cannot be found or are now known to be in other collections and therefore are not in the database. Thirty-seven of the names are new since the last type catalog covering these orders, Arthur J. Poole and Viola S. Schantz’s 1942 “Catalog of the Type Specimens of Mammals in the United States National Museum, Including the Biological Surveys Collection” (Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 178). One of these, Lutra iowa Goldman, 1941, was transferred to the National Museum’s Paleobiology Department collection and is mentioned only briefly in this work. Orders and families are arranged systematically following D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder’s 2005 Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, third edition, volume 1; within families, currently recognized genera are arranged alphabetically, and within each currently recognized genus, species and subspecies accounts are arranged alphabetically by original published name. Information in each account includes original name and abbreviated citation thereto, current name if other than original, citation for first use of current name combination for the taxon, type designation, U.S. National Museum catalog number(s), preparation, age and sex, date of collection and collector, original collector number, type locality, and remarks as appropriate. Digital photographs of each specimen will serve as a condition report and will be attached to each electronic specimen record. An addendum

  15. Molecular genetic identification of southern hemisphere beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidae).

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    Dalebout, M L; Helden, A V; van Waerebeek, K; Baker, C S

    1998-06-01

    To assist in the species-level identification of stranded and hunted beaked whales, we compiled a database of 'reference' sequences from the mitochondrial DNA control region for 15 of the 20 described ziphiid species. Reference samples for eight species were obtained from stranded animals in New Zealand and South Australia. Sequences for a further seven species were obtained from a previously published report. This database was used to identify 20 'test' samples obtained from incompletely documented strandings around New Zealand. Analyses showed that four of these 'test' specimens (20%) had initially been misidentified. These included two animals of particular interest: (i) a Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), the first record of this species in New Zealand waters; and, (ii) a juvenile Andrews' beaked whale (Mesoplodon bowdoini), a species known from just over 20 strandings worldwide. A published sequence from a beaked whale product purchased in the Republic of Korea was identified as a Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris). Levels of intra- and interspecific variation were compared to determine the potential for misidentification when the database or taxonomy is incomplete. Intraspecific variation was generally 4.7%. Exceptions were within-species variation in Hyperoodon planifrons, southern bottlenosed whale (4.12%), which exceeded the variation between the two species of Berardius (3.78%), and variation between the two specimens assigned to M. hectori, Hector's beaked whale (7.14%). The latter case appears to be an error in species identification, and could represent the discovery of a new species of beaked whale.

  16. Enamel ultrastructure in fossil cetaceans (Cetacea: Archaeoceti and Odontoceti.

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    Carolina Loch

    Full Text Available The transition from terrestrial ancestry to a fully pelagic life profoundly altered the body systems of cetaceans, with extreme morphological changes in the skull and feeding apparatus. The Oligocene Epoch was a crucial time in the evolution of cetaceans when the ancestors of modern whales and dolphins (Neoceti underwent major diversification, but details of dental structure and evolution are poorly known for the archaeocete-neocete transition. We report the morphology of teeth and ultrastructure of enamel in archaeocetes, and fossil platanistoids and delphinoids, ranging from late Oligocene (Waitaki Valley, New Zealand to Pliocene (Caldera, Chile. Teeth were embedded in epoxy resin, sectioned in cross and longitudinal planes, polished, etched, and coated with gold palladium for scanning electron microscopy (SEM observation. SEM images showed that in archaeocetes, squalodontids and Prosqualodon (taxa with heterodont and nonpolydont/limited polydont teeth, the inner enamel was organized in Hunter-Schreger bands (HSB with an outer layer of radial enamel. This is a common pattern in most large-bodied mammals and it is regarded as a biomechanical adaptation related to food processing and crack resistance. Fossil Otekaikea sp. and delphinoids, which were polydont and homodont, showed a simpler structure, with inner radial and outer prismless enamel. Radial enamel is regarded as more wear-resistant and has been retained in several mammalian taxa in which opposing tooth surfaces slide over each other. These observations suggest that the transition from a heterodont and nonpolydont/limited polydont dentition in archaeocetes and early odontocetes, to homodont and polydont teeth in crownward odontocetes, was also linked to a marked simplification in the enamel Schmelzmuster. These patterns probably reflect functional shifts in food processing from shear-and-mastication in archaeocetes and early odontocetes, to pierce-and-grasp occlusion in crownward odontocetes, with the implication of less demanding feeding biomechanics as seen in most extant odontocetes.

  17. DNA-DNA hybridizations support ungulate ancestry of Cetacea

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    Milinkovitch, M.C.

    1992-01-01

    Recent morphological data on Pakicetus spp. and Basilosaurus spp. fossils suggest that cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) originate from carnivorous Mesonychid land mammals (Condylarthra) and made a gradual transition from land to sea in early Eocene (Gingerich et al. 1983; 1990). On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla have evolved from Condylarthra (Van Valen 1978, Carrol 1988). Therefore, the Pakicetus and Basilosaurus data suggest a clo...

  18. Prenatal development of the integument in Delphinidae (Cetacea: Odontoceti).

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    Meyer, W; Neurand, K; Klima, M

    1995-03-01

    The prenatal development of epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis was studied in embryos of different age of two delphinid species (Stenella attenuata, Delphinus delphis), using light and transmission electron microscopical methods. The delphinid embryo is covered by a multilayered tissue formed by four different epidermal generations (periderm, stratum intermedium-I, str. intermedium-II, str. spinosum) produced by the str. basale. The first layer appears at about 40-50 mm of body length, the second type (s.i.-I) about 60-160 mm, and the third type (s.i.-II) is present at 160-500 mm. The first spinosal cells are produced at 225-260 mm body length; thenceforth, the epidermis increases continuously in thickness. Epidermal ridge formation begins about 400-mm body length. The development of the dermis is characterized by the early production of thin connective tissue fibers (40-70-mm body length) and simultaneously the cutaneous muscle matures in structure. Vascular development intensifies between embryos of 150-225 mm, and collagen production increases markedly in fetuses of 225-260-mm length. These events are paralleled by an increase in dermal thickness. The first elastic fibers can be recognized in the skin from the abdomen at about 600-mm body length. The development of the hypodermis is marked by very rapid and constantly progressing growth, beginning about 60-mm body length. The first typical fat cells appear in animals of 360-400 mm. Regional differences are obvious for all skin layers with regard to the flippers, where structural maturation proceeds more rapidly than in dorsal or abdominal regions. PMID:7714905

  19. Morphology and variation in porpoise (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) cranial endocasts.

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    Racicot, Rachel A; Colbert, Matthew W

    2013-06-01

    Evolution of endocranial anatomy in cetaceans is important from the perspective of echolocation ability, intelligence, social structure, and alternate pathways for circulation to the brain. Apart from the importance of studying brain shape and asymmetries as they relate to aspects of behavior and intelligence, cranial endocasts can show a close correspondence to the hydrostatic shape of the brain in life, and canals and grooves can preserve features of the circulatory system. Multiple samples are rarely available for studies of individual variation, especially in fossils, thus a first step in quantifying variation and making comparisons with fossils is made possible with CT scans of osteological specimens. This study presents a series of high-resolution X-ray CT-derived cranial endocasts of six extant species of Phocoenidae, a clade including some of the smallest and one of the rarest cetaceans. Degree of gyrification varies interspecifically and intraspecifically, possibly resulting from variation in preservation of the ossified meninges. Computed tomographic data show that visually assessed asymmetry in the cranial endocasts is not correlated with volumetric measurements, but nonetheless may reflect torsion in the skull's shape such that the right cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres extend rostrally and laterally more than the left. Vasculature and canals are similar to other described cetacean species, but the hypophyseal casts are unusual. Similarities between brain shape and volume measurements in the different species can be attributed to paedomorphism and concomitant variation in ecological preferences. This may explain similarities Neophocaena phocaenoides and Phocoena sinus share with the juvenile Phocoena phocoena specimen studied. PMID:23613315

  20. Enamel ultrastructure in fossil cetaceans (Cetacea: Archaeoceti and Odontoceti).

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    Loch, Carolina; Kieser, Jules A; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2015-01-01

    The transition from terrestrial ancestry to a fully pelagic life profoundly altered the body systems of cetaceans, with extreme morphological changes in the skull and feeding apparatus. The Oligocene Epoch was a crucial time in the evolution of cetaceans when the ancestors of modern whales and dolphins (Neoceti) underwent major diversification, but details of dental structure and evolution are poorly known for the archaeocete-neocete transition. We report the morphology of teeth and ultrastructure of enamel in archaeocetes, and fossil platanistoids and delphinoids, ranging from late Oligocene (Waitaki Valley, New Zealand) to Pliocene (Caldera, Chile). Teeth were embedded in epoxy resin, sectioned in cross and longitudinal planes, polished, etched, and coated with gold palladium for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observation. SEM images showed that in archaeocetes, squalodontids and Prosqualodon (taxa with heterodont and nonpolydont/limited polydont teeth), the inner enamel was organized in Hunter-Schreger bands (HSB) with an outer layer of radial enamel. This is a common pattern in most large-bodied mammals and it is regarded as a biomechanical adaptation related to food processing and crack resistance. Fossil Otekaikea sp. and delphinoids, which were polydont and homodont, showed a simpler structure, with inner radial and outer prismless enamel. Radial enamel is regarded as more wear-resistant and has been retained in several mammalian taxa in which opposing tooth surfaces slide over each other. These observations suggest that the transition from a heterodont and nonpolydont/limited polydont dentition in archaeocetes and early odontocetes, to homodont and polydont teeth in crownward odontocetes, was also linked to a marked simplification in the enamel Schmelzmuster. These patterns probably reflect functional shifts in food processing from shear-and-mastication in archaeocetes and early odontocetes, to pierce-and-grasp occlusion in crownward odontocetes, with the implication of less demanding feeding biomechanics as seen in most extant odontocetes. PMID:25629995

  1. Enamel ultrastructure in fossil cetaceans (Cetacea: Archaeoceti and Odontoceti).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loch, Carolina; Kieser, Jules A; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2015-01-01

    The transition from terrestrial ancestry to a fully pelagic life profoundly altered the body systems of cetaceans, with extreme morphological changes in the skull and feeding apparatus. The Oligocene Epoch was a crucial time in the evolution of cetaceans when the ancestors of modern whales and dolphins (Neoceti) underwent major diversification, but details of dental structure and evolution are poorly known for the archaeocete-neocete transition. We report the morphology of teeth and ultrastructure of enamel in archaeocetes, and fossil platanistoids and delphinoids, ranging from late Oligocene (Waitaki Valley, New Zealand) to Pliocene (Caldera, Chile). Teeth were embedded in epoxy resin, sectioned in cross and longitudinal planes, polished, etched, and coated with gold palladium for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observation. SEM images showed that in archaeocetes, squalodontids and Prosqualodon (taxa with heterodont and nonpolydont/limited polydont teeth), the inner enamel was organized in Hunter-Schreger bands (HSB) with an outer layer of radial enamel. This is a common pattern in most large-bodied mammals and it is regarded as a biomechanical adaptation related to food processing and crack resistance. Fossil Otekaikea sp. and delphinoids, which were polydont and homodont, showed a simpler structure, with inner radial and outer prismless enamel. Radial enamel is regarded as more wear-resistant and has been retained in several mammalian taxa in which opposing tooth surfaces slide over each other. These observations suggest that the transition from a heterodont and nonpolydont/limited polydont dentition in archaeocetes and early odontocetes, to homodont and polydont teeth in crownward odontocetes, was also linked to a marked simplification in the enamel Schmelzmuster. These patterns probably reflect functional shifts in food processing from shear-and-mastication in archaeocetes and early odontocetes, to pierce-and-grasp occlusion in crownward odontocetes, with the implication of less demanding feeding biomechanics as seen in most extant odontocetes.

  2. On the olfactory anatomy in an archaic whale (Protocetidae, Cetacea) and the minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Balaenopteridae, Cetacea).

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    Godfrey, Stephen J; Geisler, Jonathan; Fitzgerald, Erich M G

    2013-02-01

    The structure of the olfactory apparatus is not well known in both archaic and extant whales; the result of poor preservation in most fossils and locational isolation deep within the skulls in both fossil and Recent taxa. Several specimens now shed additional light on the subject. A partial skull of an archaic cetacean is reported from the Pamunkey River, Virginia, USA. The specimen probably derives from the upper middle Eocene (Piney Point Formation) and is tentatively assigned to the Protocetidae. Uncrushed cranial cavities associated with the olfactory apparatus were devoid of sediment. CT scans clearly reveal the dorsal nasal meatus, ethmoturbinates within the olfactory recess, the cribriform plate, the area occupied by the olfactory bulbs, and the olfactory nerve tract. Several sectioned skulls of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) were also examined, and olfactory structures are remarkably similar to those observed in the fossil skull from the Pamunkey River. One important difference between the two is that the fossil specimen has an elongate olfactory nerve tract. The more forward position of the external nares in extant balaenopterids when compared with those of extant odontocetes is interpreted to be the result of the need to retain a functional olfactory apparatus and the forward position of the supraoccipital/cranial vertex. An increase in the distance between the occipital condyles and the vertex in balaenopterids enhances the mechanical advantage of the epaxial musculature that inserts on the occiput, a specialization that likely stabilizes the head of these enormous mammals during lunge feeding.

  3. Prey consumed by Guiana dolphin Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea, Delphinidae and franciscana dolphin Pontoporia blainvillei (Cetacea, Pontoporiidae in an estuarine environment in southern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marta J. Cremer

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available The present study provides information about the diet of sympatric populations of small cetaceans in the Babitonga Bay estuary. This is the first study on the diet of these species in direct sympatry. The stomach contents of seven Guiana dolphins Sotalia guianensis and eight franciscanas Pontoporia blainvillei were analyzed. The prey of both cetaceans was mostly teleost fishes, followed by cephalopods. We identified 13 teleost fishes as part of the diet of the franciscanas, and 20 as part of the diet of Guiana dolphins. Lolliguncula brevis was the only cephalopod recorded, and was the most important prey for both cetaceans. Stellifer rastrifer and Gobionellus oceanicus were also important for franciscana, so as Mugil curema and Micropogonias furnieri were important for Guiana dolphins. Stellifer rastrifer and Cetengraulis edentulus were the fishes with the highest frequency of occurrence for franciscana (50%, while Achirus lineatus, C. edentulus, S. brasiliensis, Cynoscion leiarchus, M. furnieri, M. curema, Diapterus rhombeus, Eugerres brasilianus and G. oceanicus showed 28.6% of frequency of occurrence for Guiana dolphins. Franciscanas captured greater cephalopods than the Guiana dolphins in both total length (z= -3.38; n= 40; p< 0.05 and biomass (z = -2.46; n = 40; p<0.05. All of the prey species identified occur inside the estuary, which represents a safe habitat against predators and food availability, reinforcing the importance of the Babitonga Bay for these cetacean populations.

  4. Anatomy of the eye of the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus L.)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bjerager, Poul; Heegaard, S.; Tougaard, J.

    2003-01-01

    Ophthalmology, cetacea, odontocetes, vision, retraction, rete ophthalmica, retractor muscle, eye muscles, Physeter......Ophthalmology, cetacea, odontocetes, vision, retraction, rete ophthalmica, retractor muscle, eye muscles, Physeter...

  5. Characterization of the whistles of Tursiops truncatus (Cetacea: Delphinidae and their association with surface behavior

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Romero-Mujalli, Daniel

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Acoustic communication is common in dolphins and encompasses a variety of sounds, either vocal or not. Among vocalizations, whistles are continuous narrow-band and frequency-modulated sounds, with a frequency range between 2-24 kHz. The aim of this study was to characterize the whistles of a resident group of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus in the coast of Aragua state (Venezuela and to determine their association with surface behavior. On average, whistle frequency ranged from 7 to 16 kHz. Six types of whistles, according to the contour of frequency modulation, were found: constant, ascending, descending, ascending-descending, descending-ascending and multiple. Only two behavioral states were observed: traveling and socialization. There was significant association between the type of whistle and behavior: whistles of medium complexity (ascending-descending were preferred during traveling and significantly avoided during socialization. Furthermore, whistles emitted during socialization were longer, of broader bandwidth, and spanning over lower frequencies than those emitted during traveling. The variation of whistles according to surface behavior confirms that they have a communicational value. Future research should focus on the causes and consequences of whistle emission to elucidate their referential function.

  6. Conflicts between river dolphins (Cetacea: Odontoceti and fisheries in the Central Amazon: a path toward tragedy?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luiz Cláudio Pinto de Sá Alves

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Dolphin interactions with fishermen have increased significantly and pose potential risks to the boto, Inia geoffrensis (Blainville, 1817, and the tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis (Gervais & Deville, 1853. The main objective of the present paper was to describe the existing conflicts between river dolphins and fishermen in the municipality of Manacapuru region. Sixteen fishermen were interviewed in Manacapuru, state of Amazonas, Brazil who described a situation of ongoing conflict that may be unsustainable. Two merchants from Manacapuru made unconfirmed reports on a boto carcass trade. Data collection for this study occurred between April 20th and April 25th, 2009, but the first author had been conducting research on river dolphins and fisheries in Manacapuru and nearby cities since the beginning of 2008, in order to gain the trust of the fishermen interviewed. The hunting and deliberate killing of the species is probably more threatening to botos than their incidental capture in fishing gears in the Manacapuru region. This practice may result from the fact that dolphins are prone to damaging fishing equipment, and stealing (and possibly damaging fish from the nets. They are portrayed negatively in numerous myths and superstitions of traditional Amazonian folklore, making them extremely undesired or even hated, seen as pests, and used in the piracatinga, Calophysus macropterus (Lichtenstein, 1819 fishery as bait. For tucuxis, incidental capture still represents the major threat to their conservation in the region evaluated here.

  7. Comparative Chromosome Map and Heterochromatin Features of the Gray Whale Karyotype (Cetacea).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulemzina, Anastasia I; Proskuryakova, Anastasia A; Beklemisheva, Violetta R; Lemskaya, Natalia A; Perelman, Polina L; Graphodatsky, Alexander S

    2016-01-01

    Cetacean karyotypes possess exceptionally stable diploid numbers and highly conserved chromosomes. To date, only toothed whales (Odontoceti) have been analyzed by comparative chromosome painting. Here, we studied the karyotype of a representative of baleen whales, the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus, Mysticeti), by Zoo-FISH with dromedary camel and human chromosome-specific probes. We confirmed a high degree of karyotype conservation and found an identical order of syntenic segments in both branches of cetaceans. Yet, whale chromosomes harbor variable heterochromatic regions constituting up to a third of the genome due to the presence of several types of repeats. To investigate the cause of this variability, several classes of repeated DNA sequences were mapped onto chromosomes of whale species from both Mysticeti and Odontoceti. We uncovered extensive intrapopulation variability in the size of heterochromatic blocks present in homologous chromosomes among 3 individuals of the gray whale by 2-step differential chromosome staining. We show that some of the heteromorphisms observed in the gray whale karyotype are due to distinct amplification of a complex of common cetacean repeat and heavy satellite repeat on homologous autosomes. Furthermore, we demonstrate localization of the telomeric repeat in the heterochromatin of both gray and pilot whale (Globicephala melas, Odontoceti). Heterochromatic blocks in the pilot whale represent a composite of telomeric and common repeats, while heavy satellite repeat is lacking in the toothed whale consistent with previous studies.

  8. A pygmy blue whale (Cetacea : Balaenopteridae) in the inshore waters of New Caledonia

    OpenAIRE

    Borsa, Philippe; Hoarau, G.

    2004-01-01

    International audience The occurrence of a blue whale is reported for the first time for the New Caledonian archipelago. The whale, a juvenile male in poor condition, entered the shallow inshore waters of the coral reef lagoon (22°19-24' S, 166° 46-52' E) where it spent at least 1 month until it was killed by whaler sharks on 27 January 2002. Live observations, examination of photographic documents, and skull osteology indicated that this was a pygmy blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus brevi...

  9. The Comparative Osteology of the Petrotympanic Complex (Ear Region) of Extant Baleen Whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti)

    OpenAIRE

    Ekdale, Eric G.; Annalisa Berta; Deméré, Thomas A.

    2011-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Anatomical comparisons of the ear region of baleen whales (Mysticeti) are provided through detailed osteological descriptions and high-resolution photographs of the petrotympanic complex (tympanic bulla and petrosal bone) of all extant species of mysticete cetaceans. Salient morphological features are illustrated and identified, including overall shape of the bulla, size of the conical process of the bulla, morphology of the promontorium, and the size and shape of the anterior pro...

  10. The vertebral morphology of the estuarine dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea, Delphinidae

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    Paulo César Simões-Lopes

    2004-12-01

    Full Text Available We present a description of the backbone of the marine tucuzi (Sotalia guianensis vertebrae (n= 34, including the variations in the vertebral formula (n= 32(UFSC- Universidade Federal de Santa catarina: Ce7, T12,L10-12,Ca23-25= 52-56. Species diagnostic characters and intraspecific variations are presented. Cervical ribs occur in 22.5% of the samples. The metapophyses start from the fourth thoracic vertebra, and the zigapophyses start at the cervical level, being observed up to T11. The inclination of the transverse processes and neurapophyses is most reduced around L5 or L6. Transverse processes on caudal vertebrae disappear between Ca9 and Ca13. The neurapophyses, neural arches and metapophyses are observed up to Ca13 or Ca15. Caudal foramina appear between Ca3 and Ca6. The height of the vertebral body increases up to Ca13, then starts to decrease. The maximum width is found around Ca6, where the vertebral body becomes laterally compressed. The length of the vertebral body increases from the last cervical to T7 and then remains constant up to Ca13, decreasing from then on. This is the first study to take into account intraspecific shape and count variations, representing an improvement over the traditional typologic approach.

  11. Comparative Chromosome Map and Heterochromatin Features of the Gray Whale Karyotype (Cetacea).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulemzina, Anastasia I; Proskuryakova, Anastasia A; Beklemisheva, Violetta R; Lemskaya, Natalia A; Perelman, Polina L; Graphodatsky, Alexander S

    2016-01-01

    Cetacean karyotypes possess exceptionally stable diploid numbers and highly conserved chromosomes. To date, only toothed whales (Odontoceti) have been analyzed by comparative chromosome painting. Here, we studied the karyotype of a representative of baleen whales, the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus, Mysticeti), by Zoo-FISH with dromedary camel and human chromosome-specific probes. We confirmed a high degree of karyotype conservation and found an identical order of syntenic segments in both branches of cetaceans. Yet, whale chromosomes harbor variable heterochromatic regions constituting up to a third of the genome due to the presence of several types of repeats. To investigate the cause of this variability, several classes of repeated DNA sequences were mapped onto chromosomes of whale species from both Mysticeti and Odontoceti. We uncovered extensive intrapopulation variability in the size of heterochromatic blocks present in homologous chromosomes among 3 individuals of the gray whale by 2-step differential chromosome staining. We show that some of the heteromorphisms observed in the gray whale karyotype are due to distinct amplification of a complex of common cetacean repeat and heavy satellite repeat on homologous autosomes. Furthermore, we demonstrate localization of the telomeric repeat in the heterochromatin of both gray and pilot whale (Globicephala melas, Odontoceti). Heterochromatic blocks in the pilot whale represent a composite of telomeric and common repeats, while heavy satellite repeat is lacking in the toothed whale consistent with previous studies. PMID:27088853

  12. On the comparative anatomy and function of the nasal tract in odontocetes (Mammalia, Cetacea)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schenkkan, E.J.

    1973-01-01

    In the study of phonation in odontocete cetaceans and particularly that of echolocation by means of sonar, a great number of conflicting hypotheses have been advanced regarding the correlation of sound production with the many anatomical features that are to be found in the upper respiratory tract.

  13. Notes on the nasal tract complex of the Boutu, Inia geoffrensis (De Blainville, 1817) (Cetacea, Platanistidae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schenkkan, E.J.

    1977-01-01

    The anatomy of the nasal passage of three specimens of the Boutu has been studied. The various diverticula appear to be aberrant from those described for other Platanistidae. The vestibular airsac system has developed into one enormous diverticulum. Except for a narrow region caudal to the blowhole,

  14. Comparative morphology of porpoise (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) pterygoid sinuses: phylogenetic and functional implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Racicot, Rachel A; Berta, Annalisa

    2013-01-01

    High-resolution X-ray computed tomographic scans were used to examine pterygoid sinus morphology within extant porpoise species and one delphinid (Tursiops truncatus), in order to consider: 1) intraspecific and interspecific variation among the studied species; 2) the most parsimonious sequence of character acquisition; and 3) the potential functional roles of the preorbital lobes of the sinuses in sound reflection. Scans revealed that the pterygoid/palatine regions are mediolaterally broader in the earliest diverging phocoenid (Neophocaena phocaenoides) and Tursiops truncatus than the dorsoventrally elongated sinuses observed in other species. Rostrocaudal lengths of the sphenoidal regions of the sinuses in all individuals studied are proportionally similar, indicating conservatism in this region across species. The neonate Phocoena phocoena has shorter preorbital lobes than adults, but they are still proportionally longer than Neophocaena phocaenoides and Phocoena spinipinnis. The preorbital lobes broaden mediolaterally to varying degrees across species; in particular, Phocoenoides dalli has the largest dorsal and lateral expansion of this region. Assuming the highest pulse frequency produced by porpoises is 150 kHz, all regions of the preorbital lobes are thick enough to reflect the wavelengths produced. In addition, the neonate preorbital lobes are not as elongated as they are in adults, and the dorsal third of this region may not reflect sound to the same extent. This study reinforces the importance of using nondestructive methods to quantify variation in endocranial anatomy and the value of CT data for recovering phylogenetically useful information, as well as functional roles sinuses play in concert with the soft tissue head anatomy for biosonar. PMID:22965565

  15. Evidence of epimeletic behavior involving a Pontoporia blainvillei calf (Cetacea, Pontoporiidae

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    Antonio José Tonello Júnior

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available The present paper constitutes the second record of epimeletic behavior for the toninha, Pontoporia blainvillei. A toninha calf carcass was recovered at Enseada Beach, São Francisco do Sul, southern Brazil (26o13’S - 48o31’W on October 9, 2001. Its total length indicated that it was a neonate or a premature calf. The calf had many parallel scratches on it, which were freshly made and produced by adult teeth. There were scratches on the fin, flukes and flippers, and the position and size of the marks demonstrated the intention of the adult to rescue the calf. The anterior region of the body showed net marks, suggesting that the calf had been accidentally entangled. The epimeletic behavior evidenced by the tooth marks could have occurred during the entanglement and/or after its liberation, and we suggest that the causa mortis of the calf was drowning.

  16. Cranial symmetry in baleen whales (Cetacea, Mysticeti) and the occurrence of cranial asymmetry throughout cetacean evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fahlke, Julia M; Hampe, Oliver

    2015-10-01

    Odontoceti and Mysticeti (toothed and baleen whales) originated from Eocene archaeocetes that had evolved from terrestrial artiodactyls. Cranial asymmetry is known in odontocetes that can hear ultrasound (>20,000 Hz) and has been linked to the split function of the nasal passage in breathing and vocalization. Recent results indicate that archaeocetes also had asymmetric crania. Their asymmetry has been linked to directional hearing in water, although hearing frequencies are still under debate. Mysticetes capable of low-frequency and infrasonic hearing (evolution. Asymmetry includes significant fluctuating and directional asymmetry, the latter being very small. Mysticete crania are as symmetric as those of terrestrial artiodactyls and archaeocetes, without significant differences within Mysticeti. Odontocete crania are more asymmetric. These results indicate that (1) all mysticetes have symmetric crania, (2) archaeocete cranial asymmetry is not conspicuous in most of the skull but may yet be conspicuous in the rostrum, (3) directional cranial asymmetry is an odontocete specialization, and (4) directional cranial asymmetry is more likely related to echolocation than hearing.

  17. The comparative osteology of the petrotympanic complex (ear region of extant baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric G Ekdale

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Anatomical comparisons of the ear region of baleen whales (Mysticeti are provided through detailed osteological descriptions and high-resolution photographs of the petrotympanic complex (tympanic bulla and petrosal bone of all extant species of mysticete cetaceans. Salient morphological features are illustrated and identified, including overall shape of the bulla, size of the conical process of the bulla, morphology of the promontorium, and the size and shape of the anterior process of the petrosal. We place our comparative osteological observations into a phylogenetic context in order to initiate an exploration into petrotympanic evolution within Mysticeti. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The morphology of the petrotympanic complex is diagnostic for individual species of baleen whale (e.g., sigmoid and conical processes positioned at midline of bulla in Balaenoptera musculus; confluence of fenestra cochleae and perilymphatic foramen in Eschrichtius robustus, and several mysticete clades are united by derived characteristics. Balaenids and neobalaenids share derived features of the bulla, such as a rhomboid shape and a reduced anterior lobe (swelling in ventral aspect, and eschrichtiids share derived morphologies of the petrosal with balaenopterids, including loss of a medial promontory groove and dorsomedial elongation of the promontorium. Monophyly of Balaenoidea (Balaenidae and Neobalaenidae and Balaenopteroidea (Balaenopteridae and Eschrichtiidae was recovered in phylogenetic analyses utilizing data exclusively from the petrotympanic complex. SIGNIFICANCE: This study fills a major gap in our knowledge of the complex structures of the mysticete petrotympanic complex, which is an important anatomical region for the interpretation of the evolutionary history of mammals. In addition, we introduce a novel body of phylogenetically informative characters from the ear region of mysticetes. Our detailed anatomical descriptions, illustrations, and comparisons provide valuable data for current and future studies on the phylogenetic relationships, evolution, and auditory physiology of mysticetes and other cetaceans throughout Earth's history.

  18. Anatomy of nasal complex in the southern right whale, Eubalaena australis (Cetacea, Mysticeti).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buono, Mónica R; Fernández, Marta S; Fordyce, R Ewan; Reidenberg, Joy S

    2015-01-01

    The nasal region of the skull has undergone dramatic changes during the course of cetacean evolution. In particular, mysticetes (baleen whales) conserve the nasal mammalian pattern associated with the secondary function of olfaction, and lack the sound-producing specializations present in odontocetes (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises). To improve our understanding of the morphology of the nasal region of mysticetes, we investigate the nasal anatomy, osteology and myology of the southern right whale, Eubalaena australis, and make comparisons with other mysticetes. In E. australis external deflection surfaces around the blowholes appear to divert water off the head, and differ in appearance from those observed in balaenopterids, eschrichtiids and cetotherids. In E. australis the blowholes are placed above hypertrophied nasal soft tissues formed by fat and nasal muscles, a pattern also observed in balaenopterids (rorqual mysticetes) and a cetotherid (pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata). Blowhole movements are due to the action of five nasofacial muscles: dilator naris superficialis, dilator naris profundus, depressor alae nasi, constrictor naris, and retractor alae nasi. The dilator naris profundus found in E. australis has not been previously reported in balaenopterids. The other nasofacial muscles have a similar arrangement in balaenopterids, with minor differences. A novel structure, not reported previously in any mysticete, is the presence of a vascular tissue (rete mirabile) covering the lower nasal passage. This vascular tissue could play a role in warming inspired air, or may engorge to accommodate loss of respiratory space volume due to gas compression from increased pressure during diving.

  19. Cranial symmetry in baleen whales (Cetacea, Mysticeti) and the occurrence of cranial asymmetry throughout cetacean evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fahlke, Julia M.; Hampe, Oliver

    2015-10-01

    Odontoceti and Mysticeti (toothed and baleen whales) originated from Eocene archaeocetes that had evolved from terrestrial artiodactyls. Cranial asymmetry is known in odontocetes that can hear ultrasound (>20,000 Hz) and has been linked to the split function of the nasal passage in breathing and vocalization. Recent results indicate that archaeocetes also had asymmetric crania. Their asymmetry has been linked to directional hearing in water, although hearing frequencies are still under debate. Mysticetes capable of low-frequency and infrasonic hearing (<20 Hz) are assumed to have symmetric crania. This study aims to resolve whether mysticete crania are indeed symmetric and whether mysticete cranial symmetry is plesiomorphic or secondary. Cranial shape was analyzed applying geometric morphometrics to three-dimensional (3D) cranial models of fossil and modern mysticetes, Eocene archaeocetes, modern artiodactyls, and modern odontocetes. Statistical tests include analysis of variance, principal components analysis, and discriminant function analysis. Results suggest that symmetric shape difference reflects general trends in cetacean evolution. Asymmetry includes significant fluctuating and directional asymmetry, the latter being very small. Mysticete crania are as symmetric as those of terrestrial artiodactyls and archaeocetes, without significant differences within Mysticeti. Odontocete crania are more asymmetric. These results indicate that (1) all mysticetes have symmetric crania, (2) archaeocete cranial asymmetry is not conspicuous in most of the skull but may yet be conspicuous in the rostrum, (3) directional cranial asymmetry is an odontocete specialization, and (4) directional cranial asymmetry is more likely related to echolocation than hearing.

  20. A Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena (Linnaeus, 1758), from the Mackenzie River delta, Northwest Territories, Canada (Notes on Cetacea, Delphinoidea VIII)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bree, van P.J.H.; Sergeant, D.E.; Hoek, W.

    1977-01-01

    A Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, taken from near Shallow Bay, Mackenzie River Delta, Northwest Territories (68°48’ N 136°35’ W) in July 1973 represents a range extension 800 km eastwards from the previous extreme northeastern record on the north Alaskan coast. All 12 Harbour Porpoises so far e

  1. Parental care behavior in the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae, in Ilha Grande Bay, southeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo H. O. Tardin

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Parental care is any form of parental behavior that increases offspring fitness. To the authors' knowledge, this study is the first to analyze the intensity of parental care in the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (van Bénéden, 1864. The objectives of this study are as follows: 1 to quantify the degree of parental care in S. guianensis in Ilha Grande Bay, Rio de Janeiro; 2 to investigate the influence of behavioral state and group size on the degree of parental care; and 3 to evaluate the differences between the intensity of parental care provided to calves and juveniles. Our results indicate that the intensity of parental care is high in S. guianensis and that care is more intense in larger groups. It is possible that these differences serve to maximize hydrodynamic gains and to minimize risks. Our results suggest that parental care is more intense during travel. A possible reason for this greater intensity is that the feeding dynamics show a more random pattern than other behavioral states. Moreover, the results indicate that calves receive more intense care than juveniles. These results suggest that parent-offspring conflict is possible in the study population.

  2. Abundance of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus (Cetacea: Delphinidae, inhabiting the Patos Lagoon estuary, southern Brazil: implications for conservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro F Fruet

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available A new mark-recapture abundance estimate and a photographic census were carried out to investigate the possible decline in the abundance of the bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus (Montagu, 1821, in the Patos Lagoon estuary due to the high levels of bycatch mortality which occurred between 2002 and 2006 in oceanic coastal areas close to the estuary. Fourteen systematic boat surveys were conducted between August and early December 2005 to photo-identify the bottlenose dolphins. The estimated number of animals, with long-lasting marks, in the population obtained from Chapman's and Mth models were 51 (95% CI = 49-53 and 52 (95% CI = 51-60, respectively. Taking into account the proportion of dolphins with long-lasting marks in the population, the total estimated population size ranged between 84 (95% CI = 76-93 and 86 (95% CI = 78-95 individuals, respectively, which was very similar to the 84 individuals revealed by the population census. Our results did not differ from the abundance estimate carried out in 1998, prior to the high fishing-related mortality event, suggesting that the population is stable. Plausible argument to explain the stability of the population is that some carcasses found on the oceanic coastal beaches near Patos Lagoon estuary come from animals that do not belong to the estuary community. Future studies should investigate fine-scale habitat partition between estuarine and adjacent coastal dolphins. If the existence of different communities living in close proximity (estuarine and coastal areas near to the estuary is confirmed, a new abundance estimate is needed to access the conservation status of bottlenose dolphins in this region.

  3. Entanglements of right whales, Eubalaena australis (Cetacea, Mysticeti, in the 2010 breeding season in Santa Catarina state, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mônica Pontalti

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Right whales (Eubalaena australis have been suffering with anthropogenic activities such as pollution, marine traffic and entanglement in fishing nets. The entanglement of right whales grows each breeding season on the southern coast of Santa Catarina state, and can cause strands and even death. During the 2010 breeding season, six entanglements among immature and adult whales were recorded. In most of the cases, the whales kept swimming slowly and didn’t want to approximate the whale watching boat. Fishing activities in the area during the right whale breeding season need to be regularized to avoid conflicts and injuries to the whales.

  4. Eye, nose, hair, and throat: external anatomy of the head of a neonate gray whale (Cetacea, Mysticeti, Eschrichtiidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berta, Annalisa; Ekdale, Eric G; Zellmer, Nicholas T; Deméré, Thomas A; Kienle, Sarah S; Smallcomb, Meghan

    2015-04-01

    Information is scarce on gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) anatomy and that of mysticetes in general. Dissection of the head of a neonatal gray whale revealed novel anatomical details of the eye, blowhole, incisive papilla with associated nasopalatine ducts, sensory hairs, and throat grooves. Compared to a similar sized right whale calf, the gray whale eyeball is nearly twice as long. The nasal cartilages of the gray whale, located between the blowholes, differ from the bowhead in having accessory cartilages. A small, fleshy incisive papilla bordered by two blind nasopalatine pits near the palate's rostral tip, previously undescribed in gray whales, may be associated with the vomeronasal organ, although histological evidence is needed for definitive identification. Less well known among mysticetes are the numerous elongated, stiff sensory hairs (vibrissae) observed on the gray whale rostrum from the ventral tip to the blowhole and on the mandible. These hairs are concentrated on the chin, and those on the lower jaw are arranged in a V-shaped pattern. We confirm the presence of two primary, anteriorly converging throat grooves, confined to the throat region similar to those of ziphiid and physeteroid odontocetes. A third, shorter groove occurs lateral to the left primary groove. The throat grooves in the gray whale have been implicated in gular expansion during suction feeding. PMID:25737431

  5. The occurrence and position of the ”connecting sac” in the nasal tract complex of small odontocetes (Mammalia, Cetacea)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schenkkan, E.J.

    1971-01-01

    The aspects of the “connecting sac” are studied in Lagenorhynchus albirostris, Lagenorhynchus obliquidens, Lagenorhynchus acutus, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis, Phocoena phocoena, Sotalia guianensis, Stenella coeruleoalba and Stenella frontalis. Comparing the development of the connecting sa

  6. Analysis of Cookiecutter shark Isistius spp. (Squaliformes; Dalatiidae) bites in cetaceans (Mammalia; Cetacea) on the Bahia coast, northeastern Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Cláudio L. S. Sampaio; Rodrigo Maia-Nogueira; José de Anchieta Cintra da Costa Nunes; Janete Gomes Abrão Oliveira; Luciano Raimundo Alardo Souto

    2007-01-01

    Few studies have registered signs of mutilation on cetaceans in Brazil, especially from shark attacks. This work describes interactions between cookiecutter sharks Isistius spp. and cetaceans through the analysis of bite records for cetacean carcasses washed ashore on the Bahia coast between 1996 and 2005. Twenty bite records were analyzed in 13 cetacean species, of which the Delphinidae family was the most frequent. After the analysis, Isistius plutodus was identified as the aggressor specie...

  7. Group structure of Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea, Delphinidae in Ilha Grande Bay, Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo Tardin

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Cetaceans present a group structure of great complexity and display a wide behavioral plasticity. Many efforts have been made to understand the group structures of the various species, however, this type of information is still lacking for some species. Therefore, our objectives were to 1 characterize the structure of the Sotalia guianensis groups in Ilha Grande Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and 2 investigate how both behavior and season influence the group structure of this population. This species is considered "data deficient" by the IUCN. We conducted 28 boat trips using group focal procedures, and a total of 1,314 groups were observed. Of these groups, 1,268 (94.4% contained calves, the largest percentage ever reported for the species. Groups with calves were larger than those without them, suggesting a strategy to protect these individuals with underdeveloped physiology. The mean group sizes reached 17.6 ± 18.3 individuals. Within these groups, we observed that both behavior (H = 112.5, d.f. = 2, P < 0.05 and season (number of simulations: 10,000; sample size of fall-winter = 544; sample size of spring-summer = 684; P < 0.05, demonstrated a statistically significant influence. The most common degree of cohesion was mixed, and cohesion also varied with behavior (χ2 = 10.1, P < 0.05 and season (χ2 = 31.0, P < 0.05. This paper contributes towards understanding the highly variable nature of S. guianensis group dynamics. These data may be important in understanding the structure of groups in a site that is being increasingly impacted by different human activities. Moreover, this area contains the largest aggregation ever observed for this species and may therefore represent an important source of genetic diversity for the species as a whole.

  8. Comparison of lipids in selected tissues of the Florida manatee (Order Sirenia) and bottlenose dolphin (Order Cetacea; Suborder Odontoceti).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ames, Audra L; Van Vleet, Edward S; Reynolds, John E

    2002-07-01

    The position, porosity and oil-filled nature of the zygomatic process of the squamosal bone (ZPSB) of the Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, suggest that it may have a similar sound conduction function to that of the intramandibular fat body (IMFB) of the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, and other odontocetes. To examine this possibility we determined the lipid composition of the ZPSB and adipose tissue from the dorsal part of the head region of the Florida manatee, and compared it to that of the dolphin IMFB and melon (another fatty area implicated in sound conduction in odontocetes). Lipids from manatee ZPSB and from adipose tissue were composed almost entirely of triacylglycerols. The most abundant fatty acids of the ZPSB were 18:1, 16:0, 14:0 and 16:1. The major fatty acids of the adipose tissue in the head were the four mentioned above, along with 12:0 and 18:0. Manatee samples did not contain isovaleric acid (iso-5:0), which was found in the bottlenose dolphin IMFB and melon, and has been related to sound conduction in dolphins and some other odontocetes. Thus, if manatee tissues are capable of sound conduction, and this process does occur through the ZPSB, a somewhat different suite of lipid components must support this function. PMID:12091108

  9. [Occurrence and behavioral patterns of the spotted coastal dolphin Stenella attenuata (Cetacea: delphinidae) in the Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica].

    Science.gov (United States)

    May-Collado, Laura; Ramírez, Alvaro Morales

    2005-01-01

    Dolphins are characterized by a significant behavioral versatility, which allows them to respond to environmental seasonality. Seasonal variation in dolphin behavior in tropical waters is not well known. Stenella attenuata graffmani is a resident dolphin in the clearly defined seasonal Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica, and we studied if dolphin group size, occurrence and behavioral patterns were associated with season and time of day in the gulf. Using strip transects we surveyed two locations for three consecutive years. School size ranged from 1 to 50 individuals, mean group size was 10.16 (SD = 9.61) individuals. Overall, foraging activities were the most frequent, followed by social interactions and travel. From 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM we mostly observed social interactions, followed by feeding-socializing (9:00 AM-12:00 PM) and feeding exclusively (12:00 PM-3:00 PM). Social activities intensified afterwards (3:00 PM-6:00 PM). Behavior and gulf seasonality were associated (chi2 = 90.52, gl = 6, p<0.05, n = 99). In the dry season (December-April) feeding predominated over other activities, but socializing was more frequent in the early rainy season (May-July). Larger groups (mean 12 dolphins) forage actively; smaller groups (mean 6 dolphins 6.51 +/- 5.12) foraged more passively. Seasonal variation in dolphin activities are likely to be associated with food availability, as observed in the high number of groups involved in foraging behaviors, and a high investment in foraging activities during the dry season. PMID:17354439

  10. Analysis of Cookiecutter shark Isistius spp. (Squaliformes; Dalatiidae bites in cetaceans (Mammalia; Cetacea on the Bahia coast, northeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cláudio L. S. Sampaio

    2007-03-01

    Full Text Available Few studies have registered signs of mutilation on cetaceans in Brazil, especially from shark attacks. This work describes interactions between cookiecutter sharks Isistius spp. and cetaceans through the analysis of bite records for cetacean carcasses washed ashore on the Bahia coast between 1996 and 2005. Twenty bite records were analyzed in 13 cetacean species, of which the Delphinidae family was the most frequent. After the analysis, Isistius plutodus was identified as the aggressor species on 80% of the records, followed by I. brasiliensis (20%, based on the characteristic shape of the mutilations. The areas most subject to attack in cetaceans were: flanks 40%; head and abdomen 20% each; dorsal 15%; and genital with 5%. The relatively high number of bites on the flanks was probably due to its larger area, which offered greater opportunities to the cookiecutter shark. At least three bite records were related to the possible causes of strandings in delphinids. We recommend further studies on interactions between sharks and cetaceans along the Brazilian coast.

  11. Coordinated feeding behavior of the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae, in southeastern Brazil: a comparison between populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elaine C. da S. Oliveira

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The coordinated feeding tactics used by delphinids are influenced by differences in the distribution of prey species, season, and opportunities for social learning. In the present study, we compared the coordinated feeding behavior of two populations of the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis, in southeastern Brazil, and how these feeding tactics vary seasonality and in the presence of calves. We observed eight types of coordinated feeding tactics, which differed in frequency and in the mean number of individuals engaged in them, and between both areas. Feeding tactics used to herd and capture prey were the most frequent and engaged a greater number of individuals, suggesting that these tactics are better for capturing fish that gather in larger schools. Furthermore, the seasons influenced the occurrence of different prey items, which in turn modified the feeding tactics of the dolphins. In the Ilha Grande Bay we observed that bouts lasted longer and larger groups engaged in the feeding tactics, which may be associated with the seasonal spawning of larger schooling fish such as Sardinella brasiliensis (Steindachner, 1879 (Teleostei: Clupeidae. However, in the Sepetiba Bay, we observed longer feeding bouts and a smaller number of individuals engaged in the feeding tactics during autumn-winter. This may be associated with the fact that the most abundant prey species, Micropogonias furnieri (Desmarest, 1823 (Teleostei: Sciaenidae, gathers in small schools. Calves were present in 95% of all coordinated feeding tactics that occurred in the Ilha Grande Bay and in approximately 61% of feeding tactics in the Sepetiba Bay, suggesting that these areas are important for social learning. This study provides more information about feeding tactics and improves knowledge of the coordinated behavior of Sotalia guianensis (Van Benéden, 1864.

  12. The Ecology of Cuvier’s beaked whale, Ziphius cavirostris (Cetacea: Ziphiidae), in the Bay of Biscay

    OpenAIRE

    Smith, Jaclyn

    2010-01-01

    This dissertation introduces the habitat use and spatial-temporal distribution of Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris, Cuvier, 1823) in the Bay of Biscay, from surveys carried out by the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme between 1995 and 2007. I have analysed the spatio-temporal distribution of Cuvier’s beaked whale, using dedicated and opportunistic sightings and the interactions with fixed physical variables (depth, slope and aspect), non-fixed environmental variables (sea surface te...

  13. Constitutional basis of longevity in the cetacea: do the whales and the terrestrial mammals obey the same laws

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sacher, G.A.

    1978-01-01

    The maximum lifespans in captivity for terrestrial mammalian species can be estimated by means of a multiple linear regression of logarithm of lifespan (L) on the logarithm of adult brain weight (E) and body weight (S). This paper describes the application of regression formulas based on data from terrestrial mammals to the estimation of odontocete and mysticete lifespans. The regression formulas predict cetacean lifespans that are in accord with the data on maximum cetacean lifespans obtained in recent years by objective age determination procedures. More remarkable is the correct prediction by the regression formulas that the odontocete species have nearly constant lifespans, almost independent of body weight over a 300:1 body weight range. This prediction is a consequence of the fact, remarkable in itself, that over this body weight range the Odontoceti have a brain:body allometric slope of 1/3, as compared to a slope of 2/3 for the Mammalia as a whole.

  14. On the dimensions of three skulls of the species of dolphin Lipotes vexillifer Miller, 1918 (Cetacea, Platanistoidea, Iniidae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bree, van P.J.H.; Purves, P.E.

    1975-01-01

    The dimensions are given of three skulls of Lipotes vexillifer, the only specimens preserved in collections outside of China. At the same time drawings of the Lipotes vexillifer skull in the British Museum (Natural History) have been made and published with a photograph of the London specimen before

  15. Evolution and the pathology of deep diving in the Bottlenosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus (Montagu, 1821) (Notes on Cetacea, Delphinoidea V)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Purves, P.E.; Bree, van P.J.H.

    1972-01-01

    Cadenat (1959) and Rancurel (1964) produced strong indirect evidence that off the west coast of Africa, the Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, is in the habit of diving very deeply, possibly down to 600 m. Examination of the skulls of fully adult specimens of Tursiops taken off Dakar and St.

  16. Relaxed clocks and inferences of heterogeneous patterns of nucleotide substitution and divergence time estimates across whales and dolphins (Mammalia: Cetacea).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dornburg, Alex; Brandley, Matthew C; McGowen, Michael R; Near, Thomas J

    2012-02-01

    Various nucleotide substitution models have been developed to accommodate among lineage rate heterogeneity, thereby relaxing the assumptions of the strict molecular clock. Recently developed "uncorrelated relaxed clock" and "random local clock" (RLC) models allow decoupling of nucleotide substitution rates between descendant lineages and are thus predicted to perform better in the presence of lineage-specific rate heterogeneity. However, it is uncertain how these models perform in the presence of punctuated shifts in substitution rate, especially between closely related clades. Using cetaceans (whales and dolphins) as a case study, we test the performance of these two substitution models in estimating both molecular rates and divergence times in the presence of substantial lineage-specific rate heterogeneity. Our RLC analyses of whole mitochondrial genome alignments find evidence for up to ten clade-specific nucleotide substitution rate shifts in cetaceans. We provide evidence that in the uncorrelated relaxed clock framework, a punctuated shift in the rate of molecular evolution within a subclade results in posterior rate estimates that are either misled or intermediate between the disparate rate classes present in baleen and toothed whales. Using simulations, we demonstrate abrupt changes in rate isolated to one or a few lineages in the phylogeny can mislead rate and age estimation, even when the node of interest is calibrated. We further demonstrate how increasing prior age uncertainty can bias rate and age estimates, even while the 95% highest posterior density around age estimates decreases; in other words, increased precision for an inaccurate estimate. We interpret the use of external calibrations in divergence time studies in light of these results, suggesting that rate shifts at deep time scales may mislead inferences of absolute molecular rates and ages.

  17. Entanglements of right whales, Eubalaena australis (Cetacea, Mysticeti), in the 2010 breeding season in Santa Catarina state, Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Mônica Pontalti; Mônica Danielski

    2011-01-01

    Right whales (Eubalaena australis) have been suffering with anthropogenic activities such as pollution, marine traffic and entanglement in fishing nets. The entanglement of right whales grows each breeding season on the southern coast of Santa Catarina state, and can cause strands and even death. During the 2010 breeding season, six entanglements among immature and adult whales were recorded. In most of the cases, the whales kept swimming slowly and didn’t want to approximate the whale watchi...

  18. Distribution, abundance and age composition in groups of dolphins Tursiops truncatus (Cetacea: Delphinidae in north coast of Matanzas province, Cuba

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nirka López

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Bottle-nose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus are organized in populations of special characteristics and strong conservation issues, still unevaluated inCuban waters. During the studied period 2002 – 2009 we conducted 20 surveys in the north coast of Matanzas province, Cuba, to describe dolphin populations in the area. Counts were conducted using distance sampling method along 4122 km and during 329 hours. From each sighting we record geo-graphic location, group size, distance and angle with the trajectory and number of calves or neonates. We also conducted photoidentification sessions in each group. Jolly-Seber capture-recapture method was used to estimate population size from re-sighting of known individuals, stored in a picture data-base. The area of higher sighting probability was in the north side of Hicacos peninsula. Mean group size was 7,5 dolphins and neonates were almost 9 % of individuals (n=827. Groups with neonates were more numerous. Form distances and sightings we estimate densities of 0,2-1,8 ind/Km2. We identi-fied 128 dolphins, of which 71 were observed more than once. Population sizes estimated from recapture data was between 100 and 150 dolphins in the region. This population is characterized by small foraging units, and re-sightings support the hypothesis of, at least, there is a resident population core in the area.

  19. Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae), in the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex: insights on the use of area based on the photo-identification technique

    OpenAIRE

    Marcos C. de O. Santos; Júlia E. de F. Oshima; Eduardo dos S. Pacífico; Ednilson da Silva

    2010-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to provide a preliminary description of habitat use by Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden, 1864) in the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex (PEC), state of Paraná, Brazil. Approximately 124 km² were surveyed by small boat from April 2006 to July 2008 in the following subsets of the PEC: Canal do Superagui (~28 km²); Pinheiros Bay (~34 km²); part of Laranjeiras Bay, which included the Guaraqueçaba sub-estuary (~38 km²); and part of the Mixture Section of ...

  20. Abundance and Summer Distribution of a Local Stock of Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus (Cetacea, Delphinidae, in Coastal Waters near Sudak (Ukraine, Crimea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gladilina E. V.

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available The first assessment of abundance of a local population of bottlenose dolphins in the Black Sea (near the Sudak coast in 2011–2012 has been conducted: the results of a mark-recapture study of photo identified animals were complemented by a vessel line transect survey. The overall abundance of a population was estimated at between 621 ± 198 and 715 ± 267 animals (Chapman and Petersen estimates, and the majority of members of the population were recorded in the surveyed area. The summer range covered the area of a few hundred square kilometers, similar to migrating coastal stocks in other world regions. The greatest density of distribution was observed in August in sea 45–60 m deep; in addition, frequent approaches to the coastline are usual for dolphins of this stock. These trends in distribution may be partly explained by distribution of prey. Interaction with sprat trawling fisheries can be a factor shaping the local population structure. Coastal waters of Sudak and adjoining sea areas are an important habitat for bottlenose dolphins in the northern Black Sea, significant for their conservation.

  1. Seasonal variation in the intensity of movements by the estuarine dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae, in the North Bay, Santa Catarina Island

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paulo César Simões-Lopes

    2004-05-01

    Full Text Available The resident population of estuarine dolphins (Sotalia guianensis in the North Bay, Santa Catarina Island, southern Brazil, was studied from September 2001 until July 2003 through periodical boat surveys. Using focal-group and sequential sampling, information such as geographical position and behavioral patterns were registered at 5-minute intervals. All the information collected was insert in a GIS database of the study area. Since patterns of seasonal variation concerning home range and behavior had been established in previous work, we aimed at evaluating the existence of seasonal intensity of movements, therefore strengthening the proposed hypothesis of higher spatial requirements when food resources are low. The daily mean speed of the dolphin’s group was used as an index of the intensity of movements, and its seasonal variation throughout the study period was analyzed. We found a statistically significant seasonal variation in the intensity of movement. The dolphins tended to move more in the cold seasons, in contrast with the hot seasons when the dolphins tended to move less. Thus, previous studies are corroborated, supporting the hypothesis og higher spatial requirements when there are fewer food resources.

  2. Structure and growth pattern of the bizarre hemispheric prominence on the rostrum of the fossil beaked whale Globicetus hiberus (Mammalia, Cetacea, Ziphiidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dumont, Maïtena; de Buffrénil, Vivian; Miján, Ismael; Lambert, Olivier

    2016-10-01

    The rostrum of most ziphiids (beaked whales) displays bizarre swollen regions, accompanied with extreme hypermineralisation and an alteration of the collagenous mesh of the bone. The functional significance of this specialization remains obscure. With the voluminous and dense hemispheric excrescence protruding from the premaxillae, the recently described fossil ziphiid Globicetus hiberus is the most spectacular case. This study describes the histological structure and interprets the growth pattern of this unique feature. Histologically, the prominence in Globicetus is made up of an atypical fibro-lamellar complex displaying an irregular laminar organization and extreme compactness (osteosclerosis). Its development is suggested to have resulted from a protraction of periosteal accretion over the premaxillae, long after the end of somatic growth. Complex shifts in the geometry of this tissue are likely to have occurred during its accretion and no indication of Haversian remodeling could be found. X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy indicate that the bone matrix in the premaxillary prominence of Globicetus closely resembles that of the rostrum of the extant beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostris: apatite crystals are of common size and strongly oriented, but the collagenous meshwork within bone matrix seems to be extremely sparse. These morphological and structural data are discussed in the light of functional interpretations proposed for the highly unusual and diverse ziphiid rostrum. J. Morphol. 277:1292-1308, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. Whales and dolphins (Mammalia, Cetacea) of the Cape Verde Islands, with special reference to the Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hazevoet, Cornelis J.; Wenzel, Frederick W.

    2000-01-01

    Observations of whales and dolphins in the Cape Verde Islands obtained in 1995 and 1996 are reported and data on the occurrence of 14 taxa are given, including four not previously reported from the region, viz. Bryde’s Whale Balaenoptera edeni, Killer Whale Orcinus orca, Rough-toothed Dolphin Steno

  4. Vascularization of the gray whale palate (Cetacea, Mysticeti, Eschrichtius robustus): soft tissue evidence for an alveolar source of blood to baleen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ekdale, Eric G; Deméré, Thomas A; Berta, Annalisa

    2015-04-01

    The origin of baleen in mysticetes heralded a major transition during cetacean evolution. Extant mysticetes are edentulous in adulthood, but rudimentary teeth develop in utero within open maxillary and mandibular alveolar grooves. The teeth are resorbed prenatally and the alveolar grooves close as baleen germ develops. Arteries supplying blood to highly vascularized epithelial tissue from which baleen develops pass through lateral nutrient foramina in the area of the embryonic alveolar grooves and rudimentary teeth. Those vessels are hypothesized to be branches of the superior alveolar artery, but branches of the greater palatine arteries may play a role in the baleen vascularization. Through a combination of latex injection, CT, and traditional dissection of the palate of a neonatal gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), we confirm that the baleen receives blood from vessels within the superior alveolar canal via the lateral foramina. The greater palatine artery is restricted to its own passage with no connections to the baleen. This study has implications for the presence of baleen in extinct taxa by identifying the vessels and bony canals that supply blood to the epithelium from which baleen develops. The results indicate that the lateral foramina in edentulous mysticete fossils are bony correlates for the presence of baleen, and the results can be used to help identify bony canals and foramina that have been used to reconstruct baleen in extinct mysticetes that retained teeth in adulthood. Further comparisons are made with mammals that also possess oral keratin structures, including ruminants, ornithorhynchid monotremes, and sirenians.

  5. The whale barnacle Cryptolepas rhachianecti (Cirripedia: Coronulidae), a phoront of the grey whale Eschrichtius robustus (Cetacea: Eschrichtiidae), from a sandy beach in The Netherlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bosselaers, Mark; Collareta, Alberto

    2016-08-22

    An isolated compartment of a whale barnacle is herein described from Recent beach deposits in Zoutelande (Walcheren, The Netherlands). This specimen is identified as belonging to the extant coronulid species Cryptolepas rhachianecti, currently known as an epizoic symbiont of the grey whale Eschrichtius robustus. This find represents the first occurrence of C. rhachianecti outside the North Pacific, and the first one as a (sub)fossil. In view of the fact that E. robustus, which is currently confined to the North Pacific, is known as a subfossil from the northeastern Atlantic between late Late Pleistocene (c. 45,000 years ago) and historical (c. 1700 AD) times, we propose a similar (late Quaternary) age for the isolated compartment. The find indicates that the extinct late Quaternary northeastern Atlantic population of E. robustus was infected by Cryptolepas rhachianecti. Our find is, therefore, compatible with the hypothesis of an ancient grey whale migration route running between the subtropical/temperate waters of the northeast Atlantic (or Mediterranean Basin), and the cold waters of the Baltic Sea (or southern Arctic Ocean), through the southern North Sea. Finally, we discuss the systematic placement of the fossil barnacle species Cryptolepas murata and propose the possibility of its removal from the genus Cryptolepas pending further investigations.

  6. New beaked whales from the late Miocene of Peru and evidence for convergent evolution in stem and crown Ziphiidae (Cetacea, Odontoceti)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urbina, Mario; Lambert, Olivier

    2016-01-01

    The Ziphiidae (beaked whales) represent a large group of open-ocean odontocetes (toothed cetaceans), whose elusive and deep diving behavior prevents direct observation in their natural habitat. Despite their generally large body size, broad geographical distribution, and high species number, ziphiids thus remain poorly known. Furthermore, the evolutionary processes that have led to their extreme adaptations and impressive extant diversity are still poorly understood. Here we report new fossil beaked whales from the late Miocene of the Pisco Formation (southern Peru). The best preserved remains here described are referred to two new genera and species, the Messinian Chavinziphius maxillocristatus and the Tortonian Chimuziphius coloradensis, based on skull remains from two marine vertebrate-rich localities: Cerro Los Quesos and Cerro Colorado, respectively. C. maxillocristatus is medium sized retains a complete set of functional lower teeth, and bears robust rostral maxillary crests similar to those of the extant Berardius. By contrast, C. coloradensis is small and characterized by large triangular nasals and moderately thickened premaxillae that dorsally close the mesorostral groove. Both species confirm the high past diversity of Ziphiidae, the richest cetacean family in terms of the number of genera and species. Our new phylogenetic and biogeographical analyses depart markedly from earlier studies in dividing beaked whales into two major clades: the Messapicetus clade, which, along with other stem ziphiids, once dominated the southeastern Pacific and North Atlantic; and crown Ziphiidae, the majority of which are found in deep-water regions of the Southern Ocean, with possible subsequent dispersal both globally (Mesoplodon and Ziphius) and to the cooler waters of the northern oceans (Berardius and Hyperoodon). Despite this relatively clear separation, both lineages seem to follow similar evolutionary trends, including (1) a progressive reduction of dentition; (2) an increase in the compactness and thickness of the rostral bones; (3) similar changes in facial morphology (e.g., elevation of the vertex); and (4) an increase of body size. We suggest that these trends may be linked to a convergent ecological shift to deep diving and suction feeding. PMID:27688973

  7. New beaked whales from the late Miocene of Peru and evidence for convergent evolution in stem and crown Ziphiidae (Cetacea, Odontoceti).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bianucci, Giovanni; Di Celma, Claudio; Urbina, Mario; Lambert, Olivier

    2016-01-01

    The Ziphiidae (beaked whales) represent a large group of open-ocean odontocetes (toothed cetaceans), whose elusive and deep diving behavior prevents direct observation in their natural habitat. Despite their generally large body size, broad geographical distribution, and high species number, ziphiids thus remain poorly known. Furthermore, the evolutionary processes that have led to their extreme adaptations and impressive extant diversity are still poorly understood. Here we report new fossil beaked whales from the late Miocene of the Pisco Formation (southern Peru). The best preserved remains here described are referred to two new genera and species, the Messinian Chavinziphius maxillocristatus and the Tortonian Chimuziphius coloradensis, based on skull remains from two marine vertebrate-rich localities: Cerro Los Quesos and Cerro Colorado, respectively. C. maxillocristatus is medium sized retains a complete set of functional lower teeth, and bears robust rostral maxillary crests similar to those of the extant Berardius. By contrast, C. coloradensis is small and characterized by large triangular nasals and moderately thickened premaxillae that dorsally close the mesorostral groove. Both species confirm the high past diversity of Ziphiidae, the richest cetacean family in terms of the number of genera and species. Our new phylogenetic and biogeographical analyses depart markedly from earlier studies in dividing beaked whales into two major clades: the Messapicetus clade, which, along with other stem ziphiids, once dominated the southeastern Pacific and North Atlantic; and crown Ziphiidae, the majority of which are found in deep-water regions of the Southern Ocean, with possible subsequent dispersal both globally (Mesoplodon and Ziphius) and to the cooler waters of the northern oceans (Berardius and Hyperoodon). Despite this relatively clear separation, both lineages seem to follow similar evolutionary trends, including (1) a progressive reduction of dentition; (2) an increase in the compactness and thickness of the rostral bones; (3) similar changes in facial morphology (e.g., elevation of the vertex); and (4) an increase of body size. We suggest that these trends may be linked to a convergent ecological shift to deep diving and suction feeding.

  8. Morphogenesis and morphology of the brain stem nuclei of Cetacea. II. The nuclei of the accessory, vagal and glossopharyngeal nerves in baleen whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jansen, J; Osen, K K

    1984-01-01

    The development and final structure of the IXth, Xth and XIth cranial nerve nuclei are studied in ironhematoxylin -, thionin - and protargol -stained serial sections of about 50 baleen whale fetuses (blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus, and fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus ) and one adult fin whale. The nucleus ambiguus is composed of three subdivisions, oral, intermediate and caudal, the last mentioned being contiguous caudally with the dorsal motor Xth nucleus. The oral division develops as three parallel cell columns which merge into a well circumscribed solitary structure with a rostrally expanded "head". It is composed of medium-sized multipolar neurons in a myelin-poor neuropil. In the fin whale a minor group of larger cells is found medial to the "head". In both species a peculiar small-celled nucleus rich in capillaries is found ventral to the "head". The intermediate division initially contains a lateral cell column and a medial region of scattered cells. The lateral column persists throughout life, while the medial field develops into three columns only one of which remains distinct in mature individuals. The cells are larger than in the oral division with the largest cells in the medial column. The two columns are surrounded by a field of scattered neurons which continues without a sharp border into the caudal division which is composed of scattered cells throughout. In its rostral half the cells are of the same multipolar type as in the intermediate division while caudally they appear flattened in the horizontal plane. The dorsal motor Xth nucleus develops as three longitudinal columns. In the fetal brain these are cytologically distinct due to different proportions of small, medium-sized and larger multipolar neurons. The spindle-shaped ventromedial column extends the entire length of the nucleus. It is composed mostly of small to medium-sized cells which caudal to the obex are elongated parallel with the neuroaxis . The dorsolateral and ventrolateral columns are restricted to the middle 1/3 of the nucleus, except in the blue whale where the former extends somewhat more rostrally. They are both characterized by the presence of large multipolar cells, the largest of which are found in the ventrolateral column. In adult specimens the cells are more equally sized and the columnar organization less distinct. The nucleus of the tractus solitarius is of about the same length as the two above mentioned nuclei. Except at the very early stages, the nucleus is ill-defined.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS) PMID:6725941

  9. Data on biology and exploitation of West Atlantic sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus (Cetacea: Physeteridae) off the coast of Paraíba, Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Gustavo Toledo; Alfredo Langguth

    2009-01-01

    This study analyzes data on the biology of sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus, 1758, obtained between 1965 and 1980 by the COPESBRA at the Costinha Whaling Station, Paraíba, Brazil. The data come from the log books of the whaling ships and from the spreadsheets containing biological information filled out by employees of the SUDEPE at the flensing plan of the whaling station. The catches occurred from June to December, in an area delimited by 06º22'-07º52'S and 33º26'-34º58'W. A to...

  10. Review of lobomycosis and lobomycosis-like disease (LLD) in Cetacea from South America. Scientific Committee document SC/60/DW13, International Whaling Commission, June 2008, Santiago, Chile

    OpenAIRE

    Siciliano, S.; Van Bressem, M.-F.; Moreno, I.B.; Ott, P.H.; Tavares, M.; Flores, P.A.C.; Flach, L.; Reyes, J C; M. Echegaray; Santos, M.C.O.; Viddi, F.; Crespo, E.A.; Klaich, M.J.; Félix, F; Sanino, G.P.

    2008-01-01

    Caused by a yeast-like organism known as Lacazia loboi, Lobomycosis (or lacaziosis) naturally affects humans, common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) inhabiting coastal waters from southern Brazil to Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast of Florida, as well as botos-cinza (Sotalia guianensis). These species are usually found in coastal waters, subject to runoff provided by large rivers and a considerable burden of associated contaminants. Histological and morphological studies demonstrate...

  11. The importance of post-mortem examinations in cetacean biology: A report of a necropsy on Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyen, 1833 (Cetacea: Delphinidae, from the Azores, Northeastern Atlantic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mário César Sedrez

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available This article reports the necropsy of a specimen of striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba found stranded in the north coast of Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal. Here, the importance of standard protocols in post-mortem examinations and the need to adequately proceed were discussed. Stranded marine mammals are valuable specimens for several studies of pathology and other veterinary medical aspects. Although the causa mortis was not determined, the full access to stranded specimens was crucial, not only for pathology studies but also for a proper training to veterinary medicine students whenever possible.

  12. Diet and potential feeding overlap between Trichiurus lepturus (Osteichthyes: Perciformes and Pontoporia blainvillei (Mammalia: Cetacea in Northern Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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    Vanessa T. Bittar

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available This study describes the diet and assesses potential overlap in the feeding habits of Trichiurus lepturus Linnaeus, 1758 and Pontoporia blainvilleiGervais & D'Orbigny, 1844 in northern Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil. Fishes were numerically dominant in both diets, followed by cephalopods for P. blainvillei and crustaceans for T. lepturus. Both predators move along similar coastal feeding areas in northern Rio de Janeiro, but our results indicate differences in their resource exploitation, what allows for their coexistence.

  13. Data on biology and exploitation of West Atlantic sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus (Cetacea: Physeteridae off the coast of Paraíba, Brazil

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    Gustavo Toledo

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available This study analyzes data on the biology of sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus, 1758, obtained between 1965 and 1980 by the COPESBRA at the Costinha Whaling Station, Paraíba, Brazil. The data come from the log books of the whaling ships and from the spreadsheets containing biological information filled out by employees of the SUDEPE at the flensing plan of the whaling station. The catches occurred from June to December, in an area delimited by 06º22'-07º52'S and 33º26'-34º58'W. A total of 641 sperm whales were killed in this period. The average sex ratio was 2.05 females to each male. The mean largest frequency of females was recorded in the first and the last months of the season, and that of males in July/August. The mean total length (TL of males was 11.4 m (minimum 7.2 m, maximum 17.6 m. The females had a mean TL of 10.1 m (minimum 8.6 m, maximum 12.9 m. A decrease was observed in the TL of females along the years. Fetuses were observed in 8.3% of the catches. They had TL between 0.24 and 4.3 m. All sperm whales had food in their stomachs, showing that they feed in the area. As in other places north to the 40ºS, there was a higher frequency of females than males. The difference between the time of maximum catch of males and females may reflect a temporal segregation in the arrival of sperm whales in the area. The reproductive activity of sperm whales in these tropical waters occurs year-round.

  14. Whales and dolphins (Mammalia, Cetacea) of the Cape Verde Islands, with special reference to the Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781)

    OpenAIRE

    Hazevoet, Cornelis J.; Wenzel, Frederick W.

    2000-01-01

    Observations of whales and dolphins in the Cape Verde Islands obtained in 1995 and 1996 are reported and data on the occurrence of 14 taxa are given, including four not previously reported from the region, viz. Bryde’s Whale Balaenoptera edeni, Killer Whale Orcinus orca, Rough-toothed Dolphin Steno bredanensis, and Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba. An earlier report of Fin Whale B. physalus is reviewed and re-identified as B. cf. borealis. Status and occurrence of the Humpback Whale Mega...

  15. Stenurus globicephalae Baylis et Daubney, 1925 (Nematoda: Pseudaliidae) from a False Killer Whale, Pseudorca crassidens (Cetacea: Delphinidae), Stranded on the Coast of Uruguay

    OpenAIRE

    María Inés Zylber; Gabriela Failla; Alfredo Le Bas

    2002-01-01

    Stenurus globicephalae Baylis et Daubney, 1925 (Nematoda: Pseudaliidae) was found in the cranial air sinuses of a false killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens (Owen), stranded on the coast of Uruguay in 1999. Although this species has been reported once in P. crassidens from the North Atlantic, this is the first record for South America. A total of 920 specimens were obtained, of which 663 were females (body length: 4.34 ± 0.45 cm) and 257 were males (2.99 ± 0.18 cm). Morphometric details are pre...

  16. Bone-breaking bite force of Basilosaurus isis (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the late Eocene of Egypt estimated by finite element analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Snively, Eric; Fahlke, Julia M; Welsh, Robert C

    2015-01-01

    Bite marks suggest that the late Eocence archaeocete whale Basilosaurus isis (Birket Qarun Formation, Egypt) fed upon juveniles of the contemporary basilosaurid Dorudon atrox. Finite element analysis (FEA) of a nearly complete adult cranium of B. isis enables estimates of its bite force and tests the animal's capabilities for crushing bone. Two loadcases reflect different biting scenarios: 1) an intitial closing phase, with all adductors active and a full condylar reaction force; and 2) a shearing phase, with the posterior temporalis active and minimized condylar force. The latter is considered probable when the jaws were nearly closed because the preserved jaws do not articulate as the molariform teeth come into occulusion. Reaction forces with all muscles active indicate that B. isis maintained relatively greater bite force anteriorly than seen in large crocodilians, and exerted a maximum bite force of at least 16,400 N at its upper P3. Under the shearing scenario with minimized condylar forces, tooth reaction forces could exceed 20,000 N despite lower magnitudes of muscle force. These bite forces at the teeth are consistent with bone indentations on Dorudon crania, reatract-and-shear hypotheses of Basilosaurus bite function, and seizure of prey by anterior teeth as proposed for other archaeocetes. The whale's bite forces match those estimated for pliosaurus when skull lengths are equalized, suggesting similar tradeoffs of bite function and hydrodynamics. Reaction forces in B. isis were lower than maxima estimated for large crocodylians and carnivorous dinosaurs. However, comparison of force estimates from FEA and regression data indicate that B. isis exerted the largest bite forces yet estimated for any mammal, and greater force than expected from its skull width. Cephalic feeding biomechanics of Basilosaurus isis are thus consistent with habitual predation. PMID:25714832

  17. Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae, in the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex: insights on the use of area based on the photo-identification technique

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    Marcos C. de O. Santos

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The aim of the present study was to provide a preliminary description of habitat use by Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden, 1864 in the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex (PEC, state of Paraná, Brazil. Approximately 124 km² were surveyed by small boat from April 2006 to July 2008 in the following subsets of the PEC: Canal do Superagui (~28 km²; Pinheiros Bay (~34 km²; part of Laranjeiras Bay, which included the Guaraqueçaba sub-estuary (~38 km²; and part of the Mixture Section of the PEC (~24 km². Our efforts were unevenly distributed in the study area. During 55 survey days covering seven distinct seasons, we spent 165 hours observing 323 groups of S. guianensis. Group size varied from two individuals to aggregations as large as approximately 100 dolphins. A total of 49,921 photographs were analyzed; 15,038 (30% were considered useful for identification purposes. A total of 182 individuals were catalogued, from which 122 (67% were cataloged in the last three seasons, when the surveyed area was expanded. The number of individual sightings in distinct days varied from one to 16. A total of 94 individuals (51.6% were re-sighted at least once. From the 37 individuals cataloged in the first season, 18 (48.6% were re-sighted in the last season. Eleven individuals with 5+ sightings were always observed in the same subset of the estuary, including an individual with 13 sightings. Sixteen individuals with three to 16 sightings were observed in three of the four estuary subsets surveyed. An individual cataloged in May 2002 in a pilot study was re-sighted up to August 2006. Our preliminary results correspond to the first evidence of site fidelity for several monitored individuals; it also revealed, for the first time, the flexibility of movements throughout the entire estuarine complex by several other individuals

  18. Stenurus globicephalae Baylis et Daubney, 1925 (Nematoda: Pseudaliidae from a False Killer Whale, Pseudorca crassidens (Cetacea: Delphinidae, Stranded on the Coast of Uruguay

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    Zylber María Inés

    2002-01-01

    Full Text Available Stenurus globicephalae Baylis et Daubney, 1925 (Nematoda: Pseudaliidae was found in the cranial air sinuses of a false killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens (Owen, stranded on the coast of Uruguay in 1999. Although this species has been reported once in P. crassidens from the North Atlantic, this is the first record for South America. A total of 920 specimens were obtained, of which 663 were females (body length: 4.34 ± 0.45 cm and 257 were males (2.99 ± 0.18 cm. Morphometric details are presented for S. globicephalae in this host, which do not show significant differences from those parasitizing Globicephala melas (Traill, but are distinct from those parasitizing Peponocephala electra (Gray. The host's skull revealed loss of osseous mass with the disappearance of the left zygomatic arch, and the left jaw had three osseous fenestrations in the region related to the organ of acoustic reception. These lesions support the hypothesis that this infection, known as stenurosis, was related to the stranding.

  19. [Distribution and environmental conditions related to the behavior in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) (Cetacea: Delphinidae) in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cubero-Pardo, Priscilla

    2007-06-01

    Habitat characteristics influencing behavior in animal species vary locally. The influence that a particular environmental characteristic can have on a species depends not only on other variables, but on morphological, physiological and social conditions of that species. In this study, developed from June 1996 to July 1997, I studied whether specific behaviors are related to particular distribution areas and environmental factors in the bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and the spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata). The study area was covered along oblicuous linear transects, and the behavior of single groups was observed from 15 min to 5 h. Environmental factors such as depth, temperature, salinity and distance from shore, among others, were considered. For the bottlenose dolphin, foraging/feeding activities showed exclusive coincidence with river mouths, coral reef and mangrove areas, while social and milling activities where seen close to feeding areas. Traveling occurred along different points parallel to the coast, with a low percentage of cases across the gulf (16.56 %), suggesting that the bottlenose rarely crosses from one side to the other. In the spotted dolphin, several behaviors were observed simultaneously in the schools and it was not possible to associate areas with particular behaviors. The lack of significant relationships among activities and particular environmental variables (ANOVA tests) is attributed to three aspects: (a) transitions among activities generally occurred into a low variable area, (b) dolphins often traveled along large areas without changing activities and (c) environmental conditions in Golfo Dulce are homogeneous. In the two species the highest average in the number of individuals per group corresponded to the category of active socializing, followed by traveling, passive socializing and feeding. In the case of the bottlenose dolphin, the smallest group size was associated with feeding activities (ANOVA, F= 2.624, p=0.037, n=156, df=4), while in the spotted dolphin the smallest group size corresponded to milling activities (ANOVA, F=3.817, p=0.009, n=51, df=4). PMID:19069765

  20. Isthminia panamensis, a new fossil inioid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Chagres Formation of Panama and the evolution of ‘river dolphins’ in the Americas

    OpenAIRE

    Nicholas D Pyenson; Vélez-Juarbe, Jorge; Gutstein, Carolina S.; Little, Holly; Vigil, Dioselina; O’Dea, Aaron

    2015-01-01

    In contrast to dominant mode of ecological transition in the evolution of marine mammals, different lineages of toothed whales (Odontoceti) have repeatedly invaded freshwater ecosystems during the Cenozoic era. The so-called ‘river dolphins’ are now recognized as independent lineages that converged on similar morphological specializations (e.g., longirostry). In South America, the two endemic ‘river dolphin’ lineages form a clade (Inioidea), with closely related fossil inioids from marine roc...

  1. Bone-breaking bite force of Basilosaurus isis (Mammalia, Cetacea from the late Eocene of Egypt estimated by finite element analysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric Snively

    Full Text Available Bite marks suggest that the late Eocence archaeocete whale Basilosaurus isis (Birket Qarun Formation, Egypt fed upon juveniles of the contemporary basilosaurid Dorudon atrox. Finite element analysis (FEA of a nearly complete adult cranium of B. isis enables estimates of its bite force and tests the animal's capabilities for crushing bone. Two loadcases reflect different biting scenarios: 1 an intitial closing phase, with all adductors active and a full condylar reaction force; and 2 a shearing phase, with the posterior temporalis active and minimized condylar force. The latter is considered probable when the jaws were nearly closed because the preserved jaws do not articulate as the molariform teeth come into occulusion. Reaction forces with all muscles active indicate that B. isis maintained relatively greater bite force anteriorly than seen in large crocodilians, and exerted a maximum bite force of at least 16,400 N at its upper P3. Under the shearing scenario with minimized condylar forces, tooth reaction forces could exceed 20,000 N despite lower magnitudes of muscle force. These bite forces at the teeth are consistent with bone indentations on Dorudon crania, reatract-and-shear hypotheses of Basilosaurus bite function, and seizure of prey by anterior teeth as proposed for other archaeocetes. The whale's bite forces match those estimated for pliosaurus when skull lengths are equalized, suggesting similar tradeoffs of bite function and hydrodynamics. Reaction forces in B. isis were lower than maxima estimated for large crocodylians and carnivorous dinosaurs. However, comparison of force estimates from FEA and regression data indicate that B. isis exerted the largest bite forces yet estimated for any mammal, and greater force than expected from its skull width. Cephalic feeding biomechanics of Basilosaurus isis are thus consistent with habitual predation.

  2. Differences In Skull Size Of Harbour Porpoises, Phocoena phocoena (Cetacea, In The Sea Of Azov And The Black Sea: Evidence For Different Morphotypes And Populations

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    Goldin P. E.

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available There are two porpoise stocks in the northern Black Sea: the north-western (Odessa Gulf and northeastern (Crimean and Caucasian waters; in addition, another stock is in the Sea of Azov. The Azov porpoises are distinct in their body size and biology. This research was conducted on the skulls of stranded sexually mature porpoises from the north-eastern Black Sea, north-western Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. In the north-eastern Black Sea samples, both present-day and old-time, the sexual dimorphism of the skull size was not significant, whereas in the Sea of Azov the females were significantly larger than males. The Azov skulls were strongly different from those from the Black Sea: they were larger, proportionally wider and had the wider rostra; also, there was no significant chronological variation within the Black Sea. The Azov and Black Sea samples were classified with the 100 % success with four variables. The northwestern Black Sea skulls were somewhat intermediate in their characteristics between the Azov and northeastern Black Sea samples, but they were classify ed together with other Black Sea specimens. The difference between the Azov and Black Sea skulls was greater than between many North Atlantic populations, despite the extreme geographical proximity of the two stocks. The low variation within the Black Sea supports the earlier conclusions on the lack of genetic variation: all the Black Sea stocks are expected to be genetically similar sub-populations, whereas the Azov and Marmara stocks possibly represent the genetically distant populations. The porpoises from the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov equally show the traits which characterize the subspecies Phocoena phocoena relicta, but the Black Sea porpoises appear to be more paedomorphic in terms of ontogenetic trajectories.

  3. Differences In Skull Size Of Harbour Porpoises, Phocoena phocoena (Cetacea), In The Sea Of Azov And The Black Sea: Evidence For Different Morphotypes And Populations

    OpenAIRE

    Goldin P. E.; Vishnyakova K. A.

    2015-01-01

    There are two porpoise stocks in the northern Black Sea: the north-western (Odessa Gulf) and northeastern (Crimean and Caucasian waters); in addition, another stock is in the Sea of Azov. The Azov porpoises are distinct in their body size and biology. This research was conducted on the skulls of stranded sexually mature porpoises from the north-eastern Black Sea, north-western Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. In the north-eastern Black Sea samples, both present-day and old-time, the sexual dimo...

  4. Isthminia panamensis, a new fossil inioid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Chagres Formation of Panama and the evolution of ‘river dolphins’ in the Americas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vélez-Juarbe, Jorge; Gutstein, Carolina S.; Little, Holly; Vigil, Dioselina; O’Dea, Aaron

    2015-01-01

    In contrast to dominant mode of ecological transition in the evolution of marine mammals, different lineages of toothed whales (Odontoceti) have repeatedly invaded freshwater ecosystems during the Cenozoic era. The so-called ‘river dolphins’ are now recognized as independent lineages that converged on similar morphological specializations (e.g., longirostry). In South America, the two endemic ‘river dolphin’ lineages form a clade (Inioidea), with closely related fossil inioids from marine rock units in the South Pacific and North Atlantic oceans. Here we describe a new genus and species of fossil inioid, Isthminia panamensis, gen. et sp. nov. from the late Miocene of Panama. The type and only known specimen consists of a partial skull, mandibles, isolated teeth, a right scapula, and carpal elements recovered from the Piña Facies of the Chagres Formation, along the Caribbean coast of Panama. Sedimentological and associated fauna from the Piña Facies point to fully marine conditions with high planktonic productivity about 6.1–5.8 million years ago (Messinian), pre-dating the final closure of the Isthmus of Panama. Along with ecomorphological data, we propose that Isthminia was primarily a marine inhabitant, similar to modern oceanic delphinoids. Phylogenetic analysis of fossil and living inioids, including new codings for Ischyrorhynchus, an enigmatic taxon from the late Miocene of Argentina, places Isthminia as the sister taxon to Inia, in a broader clade that includes Ischyrorhynchus and Meherrinia, a North American fossil inioid. This phylogenetic hypothesis complicates the possible scenarios for the freshwater invasion of the Amazon River system by stem relatives of Inia, but it remains consistent with a broader marine ancestry for Inioidea. Based on the fossil record of this group, along with Isthminia, we propose that a marine ancestor of Inia invaded Amazonia during late Miocene eustatic sea-level highs. PMID:26355720

  5. Albicetus oxymycterus, a New Generic Name and Redescription of a Basal Physeteroid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Miocene of California, and the Evolution of Body Size in Sperm Whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boersma, Alexandra T; Pyenson, Nicholas D

    2015-01-01

    Living sperm whales are represented by only three species (Physeter macrocephalus, Kogia breviceps and Kogia sima), but their fossil record provides evidence of an ecologically diverse array of different forms, including morphologies and body sizes without analog among living physeteroids. Here we provide a redescription of Ontocetus oxymycterus, a large but incomplete fossil sperm whale specimen from the middle Miocene Monterey Formation of California, described by Remington Kellogg in 1925. The type specimen consists of a partial rostrum, both mandibles, an isolated upper rostrum fragment, and incomplete tooth fragments. Although incomplete, these remains exhibit characteristics that, when combined, set it apart morphologically from all other known physeteroids (e.g., a closed mesorostral groove, and the retention of enameled tooth crowns). Kellogg originally placed this species in the genus Ontocetus, a enigmatic tooth taxon reported from the 19th century, based on similarities between the type specimen Ontocetus emmonsi and the conspicuously large lower dentition of Ontocetus oxymycterus. However, the type of the genus Ontocetus is now known to represent a walrus tusk (belonging to fossil Odobenidae) instead of a cetacean tooth. Thus, we assign this species to the new genus Albicetus, creating the new combination of Albicetus oxymycterus, gen. nov. We provide new morphological observations of the type specimen, including a 3D model. We also calculate a total length of approximately 6 m in life, using cranial proxies of body size for physeteroids. Lastly, a phylogenetic analysis of Albicetus oxymycterus with other fossil and living Physeteroidea resolves its position as a stem physeteroid, implying that large body size and robust dentition in physeteroids evolved multiple times and in distantly related lineages.

  6. Isthminia panamensis, a new fossil inioid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Chagres Formation of Panama and the evolution of 'river dolphins' in the Americas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyenson, Nicholas D; Vélez-Juarbe, Jorge; Gutstein, Carolina S; Little, Holly; Vigil, Dioselina; O'Dea, Aaron

    2015-01-01

    In contrast to dominant mode of ecological transition in the evolution of marine mammals, different lineages of toothed whales (Odontoceti) have repeatedly invaded freshwater ecosystems during the Cenozoic era. The so-called 'river dolphins' are now recognized as independent lineages that converged on similar morphological specializations (e.g., longirostry). In South America, the two endemic 'river dolphin' lineages form a clade (Inioidea), with closely related fossil inioids from marine rock units in the South Pacific and North Atlantic oceans. Here we describe a new genus and species of fossil inioid, Isthminia panamensis, gen. et sp. nov. from the late Miocene of Panama. The type and only known specimen consists of a partial skull, mandibles, isolated teeth, a right scapula, and carpal elements recovered from the Piña Facies of the Chagres Formation, along the Caribbean coast of Panama. Sedimentological and associated fauna from the Piña Facies point to fully marine conditions with high planktonic productivity about 6.1-5.8 million years ago (Messinian), pre-dating the final closure of the Isthmus of Panama. Along with ecomorphological data, we propose that Isthminia was primarily a marine inhabitant, similar to modern oceanic delphinoids. Phylogenetic analysis of fossil and living inioids, including new codings for Ischyrorhynchus, an enigmatic taxon from the late Miocene of Argentina, places Isthminia as the sister taxon to Inia, in a broader clade that includes Ischyrorhynchus and Meherrinia, a North American fossil inioid. This phylogenetic hypothesis complicates the possible scenarios for the freshwater invasion of the Amazon River system by stem relatives of Inia, but it remains consistent with a broader marine ancestry for Inioidea. Based on the fossil record of this group, along with Isthminia, we propose that a marine ancestor of Inia invaded Amazonia during late Miocene eustatic sea-level highs.

  7. Anatomy, feeding ecology, and ontogeny of a transitional baleen whale: a new genus and species of Eomysticetidae (Mammalia: Cetacea) from the Oligocene of New Zealand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boessenecker, Robert W; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2015-01-01

    The Eocene history of cetacean evolution is now represented by the expansive fossil record of archaeocetes elucidating major morphofunctional shifts relating to the land to sea transition, but the change from archaeocetes to modern cetaceans is poorly established. New fossil material of the recently recognized family Eomysticetidae from the upper Oligocene Otekaike Limestone includes a new genus and species, Waharoa ruwhenua, represented by skulls and partial skeletons of an adult, juvenile, and a smaller juvenile. Ontogenetic status is confirmed by osteohistology of ribs. Waharoa ruwhenua is characterized by an elongate and narrow rostrum which retains vestigial alveoli and alveolar grooves. Palatal foramina and sulci are present only on the posterior half of the palate. The nasals are elongate, and the bony nares are positioned far anteriorly. Enormous temporal fossae are present adjacent to an elongate and narrow intertemporal region with a sharp sagittal crest. The earbones are characterized by retaining inner and outer posterior pedicles, lacking fused posterior processes, and retaining a separate accessory ossicle. Phylogenetic analysis supports inclusion of Waharoa ruwhenua within a monophyletic Eomysticetidae as the earliest diverging clade of toothless mysticetes. This eomysticetid clade also included Eomysticetus whitmorei, Micromysticetus rothauseni, Tohoraata raekohao, Tokarahia kauaeroa, Tokarahia lophocephalus, and Yamatocetus canaliculatus. Detailed study of ontogenetic change demonstrates postnatal elaboration of the sagittal and nuchal crests, elongation of the intertemporal region, inflation of the zygomatic processes, and an extreme proportional increase in rostral length. Tympanic bullae are nearly full sized during early postnatal ontogeny indicating precocial development of auditory structures, but do increase slightly in size. Positive allometry of the rostrum suggests an ontogenetic change in feeding ecology, from neonatal suckling to a more specialized adult feeding behaviour. Possible absence of baleen anteriorly, a delicate temporomandibular joint with probable synovial capsule, non-laterally deflected coronoid process, and anteroposteriorly expanded palate suggests skim feeding as likely mode of adult feeding for zooplankton. Isotopic data in concert with preservation of young juveniles suggests the continental shelf of Zealandia was an important calving ground for latitudinally migrating Oligocene baleen whales.

  8. Albicetus oxymycterus, a New Generic Name and Redescription of a Basal Physeteroid (Mammalia, Cetacea from the Miocene of California, and the Evolution of Body Size in Sperm Whales.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandra T Boersma

    Full Text Available Living sperm whales are represented by only three species (Physeter macrocephalus, Kogia breviceps and Kogia sima, but their fossil record provides evidence of an ecologically diverse array of different forms, including morphologies and body sizes without analog among living physeteroids. Here we provide a redescription of Ontocetus oxymycterus, a large but incomplete fossil sperm whale specimen from the middle Miocene Monterey Formation of California, described by Remington Kellogg in 1925. The type specimen consists of a partial rostrum, both mandibles, an isolated upper rostrum fragment, and incomplete tooth fragments. Although incomplete, these remains exhibit characteristics that, when combined, set it apart morphologically from all other known physeteroids (e.g., a closed mesorostral groove, and the retention of enameled tooth crowns. Kellogg originally placed this species in the genus Ontocetus, a enigmatic tooth taxon reported from the 19th century, based on similarities between the type specimen Ontocetus emmonsi and the conspicuously large lower dentition of Ontocetus oxymycterus. However, the type of the genus Ontocetus is now known to represent a walrus tusk (belonging to fossil Odobenidae instead of a cetacean tooth. Thus, we assign this species to the new genus Albicetus, creating the new combination of Albicetus oxymycterus, gen. nov. We provide new morphological observations of the type specimen, including a 3D model. We also calculate a total length of approximately 6 m in life, using cranial proxies of body size for physeteroids. Lastly, a phylogenetic analysis of Albicetus oxymycterus with other fossil and living Physeteroidea resolves its position as a stem physeteroid, implying that large body size and robust dentition in physeteroids evolved multiple times and in distantly related lineages.

  9. Surface patterns of Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae in the presence of boats in Port of Malhado, Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariana S Santos

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Interactions with boats can cause several behavioural changes in cetaceans. The purpose of this research is to analyse if Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis, change their surfacing patterns in the presence of different boat categories, and their contact distances to boats at Port of Malhado, Ilheus, Bahia, Brazil. Data were collected from a fixed point from September 2008 to August 2009 and totalled 362.6 h of sampling effort and 213.22 h of effective effort. The number of dolphin breathing events was recorded during one minute periods, every time a boat passed nearby, and the same measurements were performed during periods of boat absence (control. Dolphin group composition was classified into groups with calves and groups without calves. Boat types were classified as inboard motor (IM, outboard motor (OM, ships (S and without a motor (WM. Distances between the dolphins and passing boats were classified as near, intermediate and far. In total, 365 samples of one minute observations in absence of boats, and 379 observations in their presence were collected. Inboard motorboats had the highest occurrence in the study area (n = 478 and in interactions with Guiana dolphins (n = 260. However, outboard motorboats were mainly responsible for the reduction in surface patterns with an average of 1.82 and median of 2.2. In groups with calves, the number of breaths decreased significantly with an average of 2.13 per minute. There were no significant variations concerning the distances in the breathing pattern for any of the boat categories. The variation in the S. guianensis breathing pattern in the presence of boats may be a strategy of boat avoidance or a response to the difficulty of communication between animals.

  10. Morfologia do sincrânio do boto-cinza, Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden (Cetacea, Delphinidae Syncranial morphology of the estuarine dolphin Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden (Cetacea, Delphinidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paulo C. Simões-Lopes

    2006-09-01

    Full Text Available Apresenta-se uma descrição da morfologia comparada do sincrânio de Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden, 1864, incluindo suas variações ontogenéticas e intra-específicas. As descrições foram baseadas em 51 crânios completos ou parciais depositados na coleção do laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos, do Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, CCB, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. O sincrânio é bastante homogêneo e manifesta sua assimetria na morfologia dos ossos, passagens nasais e forames. O rostro é proporcionalmente estreito em relação aos outros Delphinidae do mesmo porte. A região temporal é circular em indivíduos jovens, mas se torna oval nos adultos onde se forma uma crista temporal evidente. O forame elíptico do periótico está presente tanto em indivíduos jovens quanto adultos. Os nasais são bipartidos e podem ocorrer ossos suturais entre os frontais. O processo hamular dos pterigóides é bastante inflado e fenestrado. A sínfise mandibular alcança de 19 de 19-23% do comprimento do dentário. Cada pré-maxilar e maxilar possui de 30-35 dentes e cada dentário de 30-38 dentes.Morphological and comparative description of the syncranium of Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden, 1864, including ontogenic aspects and intraspecific variations are presented. The descriptions were based on the examination of 51 complete or partial skulls, kept at the Marine Mammals Lab. Collection from the Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, CCB, at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. The sincranium is very homogeneous and manifests its asymmetry in the morphology of the bones, nasal passages and foramina. The rostrum is proportionally narrow in relation to other Delphinidae of the same size. The temporal region is circular in young specimens, but it becomes oval in the adults were it forms a well marked temporal crest. The elliptical foramen of the periotic bone is present both in young and adult individuals. The nasals are bipartite and one may find sutural bones between the frontals. The hamular process of the pterygoids is inflated and somewhat fenestrated. The mandibular symphysis covers from 19-23% of the dentary length. Each premaxilla and maxilla has 30-35 teeth and each dentary exhibits 30-38 teeth.

  11. The occurrence of Pontoporia blainvillei (Gervais & d'Orbigny (Cetacea, Pontoporiidae in an estuarine area in southern Brazil Ocorrência de Pontoporia blainvillei (Gervais & d'Orbigny (Cetacea, Pontoporiidae em uma região estuarina no sul do Brasil

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    Marta J. Cremer

    2005-09-01

    Full Text Available The toninha, or franciscana, Pontoporia blainvillei (Gervais & D'Orbigny, 1844, is an endemic species of cetacean of the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. There is little information on the occurrence of this species in its natural environment due to the great difficulty in sighting it. Systematized and non-systematized observations of franciscanas were made from December 1996 through November 2001 at Babitonga Bay, on the northern coast of Santa Catarina State, southern Brazil. The observations were made from small motorboats. A total of 79 observations were made, totaling 561 individuals. Up to 59.5% of the groups consisted of over four individuals and the average group size was seven. Calves were present in 30.4% of the observations. The species was found throughout the year within the bay and preferential areas were identified. Calves were registered during all seasons. Data are presented on the behavior (feeding, traveling, aerial behavior and behavior relating to the boats and on inter-specific interactions with terns, cormorants [Phalacrocorax brasilianus (Gmelin, 1789] and brown boobies [Sula leucogaster (Boddaert, 1783]. The species is sympatric with the estuarine dolphin Sotalia guianensis (P. J. Van Bénéden, 1864 in the bay, but there was no record of interaction between them. The area of the bay represents an important refuge for the franciscana species.A toninha, ou franciscana, Pontoporia blainvillei (Gervais & D'Orbigny, 1844, é uma espécie endêmica de cetáceos que ocorre no Oceano Atlântico sul ocidental. Existem poucas informações sobre a ocorrência da espécie em seu ambiente natural em função da grande dificuldade em avistá-la. Observações sistematizadas e não-sistematizadas de franciscanas foram realizadas no período entre dezembro de 1996 e novembro de 2001 na Baía da Babitonga, no litoral norte do estado de Santa Catarina, sul do Brasil. As observações foram realizadas a partir de pequenas embarcações a motor. Um total de 79 observações foram efetuadas, totalizando 561 indivíduos. Acima de 59.5% dos grupos eram compostos por mais de quatro indivíduos e a média de tamanho de grupo foi de sete. Filhotes estiveram presentes em 30.4% das observações. A espécie foi encontrada na baía ao longo de todo o ano e foram identificadas áreas de uso preferencial. Filhotes foram registrados em todas as estações. São apresentadas informações sobre o comportamento (alimentação, deslocamento, comportamentos aéreos e relativos a embarcações assim como sobre interações interespecíficas com trinta-réis, biguás [Phalacrocorax brasilianus (Gmelin, 1789] e atobás marrons [Sula leucogaster (Boddaert, 1783]. A espécie é simpátrica do golfinho estuarino Sotalia guianensis (P. J. Van Bénéden, 1864 na baía, mas não foram efetuados registros de interação entre ambas as espécies. A área da baía representa um importante refúgio para a franciscana.

  12. Relationship between dental morphology, sex, body length and age in Pontoporia blainvillei and Sotalia fluviatilis (Cetacea) in Northern Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Relação entre a morfologia dental, sexo, comprimento do corpo e idade em Pontoporia blainvillei e Sotalia fluviatilis (Cetacea) no Norte do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

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    RAMOS R. M. A.; DI BENEDITTO A. P. M.; LIMA N. R. W.

    2000-01-01

    The relationship between dental morphology, sex, body length and age of small cetaceans can be used to determine ontogeny, sexual dimorphism and geographical variation. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between dental morphology, sex, body size and age. A total of 91 specimens of P. blainvillei and 80 specimens of S. fluviatilis accidentally captured in fisheries or stranded in northern Rio de Janeiro (21º37'-22º25'S), from September 1988 to November 1996 were anal...

  13. Anomalias ósseas congênitas em Sotalia guianensis (Mammalia, Cetacea, Delphinidae da costa centro-norte do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Congenital bone defects in Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Mammalia, Cetacea, Delphinidae in the northcentral coast of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

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    Maíra Laeta

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Carcaças de botos-cinza Sotalia guianensis (van Bénéden, 1864 foram recuperadas entre 20 de agosto de 2001 e 13 de fevereiro de 2006, na costa centro-norte fluminense. A maior parte delas (85% entre Barra de São João (22º35'S 41º59'W e Quissamã (22º06'S 41º28'W. Foram estudadas as colunas vertebrais dos 20 exemplares que apresentavam mais de 60% das vértebras presentes. A coleção é formada por 75% de animais imaturos, e todos os esqueletos mostram alterações tafonômicas mínimas. Duas categorias de anomalias congênitas foram diagnosticadas, ambas relacionadas ao desenvolvimento do mesoderma paraxial. A sétima vértebra cervical (C7 foi a única afetada, as costelas cervicais e o não fechamento do arco neural atingiram 15 (75% dos indivíduos analisados, dos quais três (15% apresentam ambas as anomalias. Nove (45% indivíduos apresentaram costelas cervicais uni ou bilateral, e nove (45% indivíduos apresentaram não fechamento do arco neural; em todos os casos as vértebras contíguas eram normais. A ocorrência de anomalias nesta série do Rio de Janeiro é maior do que as referidas na literatura brasileira para outras séries de Sotalia do Amazonas, Ceará e Santa Catarina. A série de Sotalia descrita vem de uma região do litoral muito limitada e provavelmente representa uma população local. As costelas cervicais são geneticamente determinadas e podem estar concentradas por uma condição de grande proximidade biológica entre os animais; o não fechamento do arco pode ter também um componente ambiental, a ser investigado futuramente.Carcasses of Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis (van Bénéden, 1864 were recovered from August 20, 2001 to February 13, 2006 along the north-central coast of Rio de Janeiro state. Most of the animals (85% were found between Barra de São João (22º35'S 41º59'W and Quissamã (22º06'S 41º28'W. We studied the vertebral columns of all the 20 specimens that had more than 60% of the vertebrae preserved. The series has 75% of immature animals and all skeletons displayed a minimum of taphonomic changes. Two categories of congenital anomalies were diagnosed, both related to the development of the paraxial mesoderm. The seventh cervical vertebra (C7 was the only affected; the cervical ribs and the cleft neural arches were present in 15 (75% of the individuals, three (15% of which had both anomalies. Nine (45% individuals had unilateral or bilateral cervical ribs, and nine (45% individuals had cleft neural arches; the contiguous vertebrae were normal in every case. The frequency of these anomalies was higher in that Rio de Janeiro series than in other Sotalia series previously reported in the Brazilian literature for Amazonas, Ceará and Santa Catarina States. The present Sotalia series here described comes from a very limited coastal region probably representing a local population. The cervical ribs are genetically defined and may be concentrated because of a condition of close biological proximity among the animals; the cleft arch could also be determined by environmental factors, to be investigated in the future.

  14. Estrutura populacional da Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae nas áreas de reprodução do Oceano Atlântico Sul Minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae population structure in the breeding grounds off South Atlantic Ocean

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    Alineide Lucena

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Um estudo da composição dos grupos de baleias minke, Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister, 1867, capturadas nas águas de Costinha, Paraíba, Brasil, na época da caça comercial, foi realizado com o objetivo de conhecer a dinâmica dos principais parâmetros biológicos, assim como aspectos do comportamento reprodutivo desta espécie. Foram analisados dados da caça coletados pela Superintendência para o Desenvolvimento da Pesca e Companhia de Pesca Norte do Brasil acerca do tamanho e composição dos grupos, proporções sexuais e grau de maturidade das baleias capturadas entre os anos de 1975 a 1985. Os grupos encontrados nas águas de Costinha foram em geral de pequeno tamanho e compostos de animais de ambos os sexos, com predominância de fêmeas e animais maturos sexualmente. Os filhotes, as fêmeas lactantes e prenhes foram raramente encontrados. Esta população de baleias encontrava-se em maior número na costa da Paraíba entre os meses de setembro e outubro, principal período de concepção para a espécie, devendo ocorrer grande número de fecundações nesta área e período. A ausência de fêmeas prenhes ou lactantes e filhotes nesta população demonstra que os nascimentos não ocorrem nesta área. O encalhe e a avistagem de filhotes da baleia minke na costa leste da América do Sul (entre 25ºS e 40ºS sugere o nascimento dos filhotes em médias latitudes desta região, onde a temperatura da água é inferior à encontrada na costa do nordeste brasileiro. Desta forma há indícios de que existam distintas áreas para o nascimento de filhotes e o acasalamento da baleia minke nas águas do Oceano Atlântico Sul Ocidental. A poligamia é um comportamento reprodutivo apresentado pela baleia minke, tendo sido observado através da proporção sexual das capturas e da composição dos grupos formados apenas por animais maturos sexualmente nesta área de acasalamento.A group composition study of the minke whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister, 1867 captured in the waters of Costinha, Paraíba, Brazil, was conducted with the aim of better understand the reproductive behavior of this species as well as the ecological characteristics of that population. In this study, the information gathered by Superintendência para o Desenvolvimento da Pesca and Companhia de Pesca Norte do Brasil from 1975 to 1985 about the whale's group size and composition, sexual proportion, sexual maturity of the captured whales was analyzed. The groups found in the waters of Costinha were in general of small size and composed by animals of both sexes, with a greater proportion of sexual mature and female animals. Calves, lactating or pregnant females were rarely found. That population concentrated in higher number in the waters of Costinha between September to October, the most important period for the species conception. A great number of conceptions might occur at this time in the area. The absence of lactating females and calves in the population demonstrate that births do not occur in this area. Strandings and sightings of young minke whales in the South America east coast (between 25ºS e 40ºS suggests that births occur at medium latitudes of this region, where the water temperature is inferior to that one in the Northeast Brazilian Coast. In that way, the possibility of the existence of distinct areas to births and breeding activities of minke whales in the South Atlantic Ocean might be considered. The polygamy is a reproductive behavior of minke whale, observed by the composition and sexual proportion of groups composed by sexual mature animals in this breeding ground.

  15. Distribution, abundance and density estimates of franciscanas, Pontoporia blainvillei (Cetacea: Pontoporiidae, in Babitonga bay, southern Brazil Distribuição e estimativas de abundância e densidade de franciscanas, Pontoporia blainvillei (Cetacea: Pontoporiidae, na baía da Babitonga, sul do Brasil

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    Marta J. Cremer

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available Pontoporia blainvillei (Gervais & d'Orbigny, 1844 is threatened throughout its distribution. The species can be found year-round in the Babitonga bay estuary (26º 02'-26º 28'S and 48º28'-48º50'W, in the north coast of the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Boat surveys were conducted in order to evaluate its abundance and density between 2000 and 2003. Sampling was random and stratified, with 46 transects in five sub-areas, comprising a total area of 160 km². Data collection was conducted following the linear transect method with distance sampling. A total of 1174.7 km was scanned and 38 groups were observed. Franciscanas were not uniformly distributed in Babitonga bay. Group size ranged from one to 13 animals (mean ± SD = 5.02 ± 3.62. Model 1 (Half-Normal showed the best fit to the data. The estimated population size was 50 animals and the density was 0.32 individuals km-2. Density estimates evaluated in the sub-areas where franciscanas occurred resulted in a density of 0.46 individuals km-2. Monitoring this population is of considerable importance due to the constant threats that this species faces in this bay.Pontoporia blainvillei (Gervais & d'Orbigny, 1844 ocorre ao longo de todo o ano no estuário da baía da Babitonga, no litoral norte de Santa Catarina, sul do Brasil. Foram realizadas amostragens com o objetivo de obter informações sobre sua abundância e densidade populacional nesta área entre os anos de 2000 e 2003. A amostragem foi aleatória e estratificada, com 46 transecções estabelecidas em cinco grandes sub-áreas, compreendendo 160 km². A coleta de dados foi conduzida utilizando o método de transecções lineares com amostragem de distância. Foram percorridos 1174,7 km e 38 grupos foram registrados. As franciscanas não apresentaram uma distribuição uniforme na baía da Babitonga. O tamanho de grupo variou de um a 13 animais (5,02 ± 3,62. O Modelo 1 (Meio-Normal promoveu o melhor ajustamento dos parâmetros. A população foi estimada em 50 animais e a densidade foi de 0,32 indivíduos km-2. A estimação de densidade calculadas apenas para as sub-áreas de ocorrência (áreas 2, 3 e 5; total de 101 km2 resultou em uma densidade de 0,46 indivíduos km-2. O monitoramento desta população é de grande importância devido às constantes ameaças que a espécie está sujeita na baía.

  16. The influence of seasonality, tide and time of activities on the behavior of Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden) (Cetacea, Delphinidae) in Pernambuco, Brazil Influência da sazonalidade, maré e horário de atividades sobre o comportamento de Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden) (Cetacea, Delphinidae) em Pernambuco, Brasil

    OpenAIRE

    Janaina P. Araújo; Maria E. Araújo; Antonio Souto; Cristiano L. Parente; Lena Geise

    2007-01-01

    Data on Sotalia guianensis Van Bénéden, 1864 occurrence on the beaches of Pernambuco (Northeastern Brazil) is restricted to information on stranding and on printed material from local newspapers; actual observations of such animals have not been published. This study intends to determine the use of habitat, behavioral activities and assess the relationships between environmental factors and the recorded behavior. Observations were conducted on open sea coastal areas, on the beaches of Olinda ...

  17. The influence of seasonality, tide and time of activities on the behavior of Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden (Cetacea, Delphinidae in Pernambuco, Brazil Influência da sazonalidade, maré e horário de atividades sobre o comportamento de Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden (Cetacea, Delphinidae em Pernambuco, Brasil

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    Janaina P. Araújo

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available Data on Sotalia guianensis Van Bénéden, 1864 occurrence on the beaches of Pernambuco (Northeastern Brazil is restricted to information on stranding and on printed material from local newspapers; actual observations of such animals have not been published. This study intends to determine the use of habitat, behavioral activities and assess the relationships between environmental factors and the recorded behavior. Observations were conducted on open sea coastal areas, on the beaches of Olinda and Piedade, as well as in sheltered areas, in the ports of Recife and Suape. Monitoring was carried out every month in each area, during two consecutive days, from September 2004 to August 2005. Results corroborate that this species prefers to occupy more protected environments, the port of Recife being the main concentration area for such species. Piedade is just an exploratory area, possibly due to shark occurrence. Olinda is only occasionally used. Concentration areas seem to be used for feeding, and incidence of caudal exhibition suggests that most of the estuarine dolphin prey items are demersal. Environmental conditions (seasonality, tide and time did not show to be significant when related to the estuarine dolphin behavior.Dados sobre a ocorrência de Sotalia guianensis Van Bénéden, 1864 nas praias pernambucanas (Nordeste do Brasil estão limitados a informações de encalhes e de matérias impressas nos jornais locais, sendo inéditas observações efetivas desses animais. Este estudo pretende determinar o uso do habitat, comportamento e avaliar as relações entre fatores ambientais e as condutas registradas. Observações foram realizadas tanto em áreas costeiras de mar aberto, nas praias de Olinda e Piedade, quanto em áreas abrigadas, nos Portos do Recife e Suape. O monitoramento foi realizado por dois dias consecutivos por mês em cada área, no período de setembro de 2004 a agosto de 2005. Os resultados corroboram a preferência da espécie em ocupar ambientes mais protegidos, sendo o porto do Recife o principal ponto de concentração da espécie. Piedade é apenas uma área exploratória, possivelmente pela ocorrência de tubarões. Olinda tem uso ocasional. As áreas de concentração parecem estar destinadas à alimentação, e a incidência de condutas caudais sugere que a maioria das presas dos botos-cinza é demersal. As condições ambientais (sazonalidade, maré e horário não se mostraram significativas quando relacionadas com as condutas realizadas pelos botos-cinza.

  18. Sightings of Delphinus delphis (Cetacea, Odontoceti in the Otranto Channel (Southern Adriatic Sea and Northern Ionian Sea / Avvistamenti di Delphinus delphis (Cetacea, Odontoceti nel Canale d'Otranto (Mar Adriatico Meridionale e Mar Ionio Settentrionale

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    Francesco Maria Angelici

    1992-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Two sightings of Common dolphin Delphinus delphis in the Channel of Otranto are reported, and the status of this species in the Mediterranean Sea is briefly discussed. Riassunto Sono riportati due avvistamenti di Delfino comune Delphinus delphis nel Canale d'Otranto, lungo la costa greca e quella italiana. Viene inoltre brevemente commentata la frequenza degli avvistamenti e degli spiaggiamenti di tale specie nel Mar Mediterraneo.

  19. Seasonal and daily patterns of group size, cohesion and activity of the estuarine dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden (Cetacea, Delphinidae, in southern Brazil Padrões sazonais e diários do tamanho de grupo, coesão e atividade do boto-cinza, Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden (Cetacea, Delphinidae, no sul do Brasil

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    Fábio G. Daura-Jorge

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available The resident population of estuarine dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden, 1864, in Norte Bay, Santa Catarina, southern Brazil, was studied from 2000 to 2003. Systematic one-day cruises were undertaken aboard a 5 m sail boat equipped with an outboard motor. Applying the focal-group method, information such as geographical position, predominant behavioural patterns, group size, cohesion index and the presence of calves, were registered at every five-minute interval, totalling 198 hours of direct observation of the dolphins. The estuarine dolphin used preferential areas for each behavioural pattern. The mean group size was approximately 29 individuals, and the presence of calves occurred throughout the entire year, but with a significant increase in the warm seasons. The frequency of behavioural patterns and group size varied according to season and time of day, and were strongly associated. The frequency of moving behaviours increased in the cold seasons and along the day. The seasonal variation in the moving behaviours suggest the requirement of a larger area in the cold seasons, probably related to seasonal fluctuations in the abundance of dominant prey items. Higher group sizes were observed while dolphins were foraging. The cohesion index also varied according to the behaviour. Our results showed that group organization and behavioural patterns of this estuarine dolphin population are probably linked to daily and seasonal environment cycles, and also possibly to the condition of being at the furthest southern limit of distribution of the species.A população residente de boto-cinza, Sotalia guianensis (P.J. van Bénéden, 1864, da Baía Norte, Santa Catarina, sul do Brasil, foi estudada de 2000 a 2003. Foram realizados cruzeiros sistemáticos de um dia, a bordo de um veleiro de 5 m equipado com motor de popa. Utilizando o método de grupo-focal, informações como posição geográfica, padrão comportamental predominante, tamanho de grupo, índice de coesão e presença de filhotes, foram registradas a cada intervalo de cinco minutos, totalizando 198 horas de observação direta dos botos. O boto-cinza utilizou áreas preferenciais para cada padrão comportamental. O tamanho médio de grupo foi aproximadamente de 29 indivíduos, e a presença de filhotes ocorreu ao longo de todo o ano, porém com aumento significante nas estações quentes. A freqüência dos padrões comportamentais e o tamanho de grupo apresentaram forte correlação, e variaram em relação à estação do ano e hora do dia. Os comportamentos de movimento foram mais freqüentes nas estações frias e ao longo do dia. A variação sazonal destes comportamentos sugere o requerimento de maiores áreas nas estações frias, provavelmente relacionado com as flutuações sazonais de abundância e dominância de presas. Os maiores tamanhos de grupo ocorreram em comportamentos de forrageio. O índice de coesão também variou com o comportamento. Nossos resultados demonstram que a organização de grupo e os padrões comportamentais desta população de boto-cinza são provavelmente influenciados por ciclos ambientais diários e sazonais, e pela condição de limite sul de distribuição para a espécie.

  20. Comportamento do boto-cinza, Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénédén (Cetacea, Delphinidae na presença de barcos de turismo na Praia de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte, Brasil Behavior of estuarine dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénédén (Cetacea, Delphinidae in the presence of tourist boats in Pipa Beach, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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    Érico Santos-Jr

    2006-09-01

    Full Text Available A crescente indústria do turismo tem se estendido ao ambiente aquático, deste modo tornando os mamíferos aquáticos suscetíveis a interações com humanos. O turismo de observação de golfinhos na praia de Pipa litoral sul do Rio Grande do Norte, tem se desenvolvido aumentando o número de barcos de observação de golfinhos operando nesta área. No presente estudo alterações comportamentais do Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénédén, 1864 causado pela presença destes barcos foi verificada. Registros comportamentais de S. guianensis foram compilados de um ponto fixo do alto de uma falésia próxima à área de estudo. As observações foram realizadas quando não havia barcos, na presença de barcos e após a saída dos barcos. Os resultados mostraram que o tipo de aproximação praticado pelos barcos de observação de golfinhos tinha maior influência no comportamento dos animais, especialmente em grupos com filhotes. Os impactos de curto prazo foram mais discretos, no entanto, novos métodos devem ser aplicados no sentido de verificar impactos de longo prazo no comportamento dos golfinhos.The ever-increasing tourist industry has extended to the aquatic environments, thus making the aquatic mammals susceptible to interactions with humans. Dolphin watching tourism has developed to a great extent in the Pipa Beach, Rio Grande do Norte, consequently the number of dolphin-watching boats operating in this area has increased. In the present study the behavioral alterations of Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénédén, 1864 caused by the presence of these boats were verified. Behavioral registers of S. guianensis were compiled from a fixed point on the cliffs close to the study area. The observations were effected when there were no boats, in the presence of boats and after the departure of boats. The results show that type of approach by the dolphin watching boats had a major influence on the behavior of the dolphins, especially so in the groups with calves. The short term impacts were rather discrete, however, new methods should be applied in order to verify the long term impacts on the dolphins.

  1. The Marine Mammal Brain Game: Students Compare the Brains and Behaviors of Dolphins, Sea Lions, and Manatees in This Unique Standards-Based Activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demetrikopoulos, Melissa K.; Morris, Lee G.; Fobbs, Archibald J., Jr.; Johnson, John I.

    2005-01-01

    Dolphins, manatees, and sea lions are all aquatic mammals but are not closely related taxonomically. All three species are marine mammals, meaning they spend part or all of their lives in the sea and contiguous bodies of water. Dolphins belong to the taxonomic order Cetacea, which includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Manatees (sea cows),…

  2. Willem Lodewijk van Utrecht in memoriam

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Spoel, van der S.

    1994-01-01

    After a few years of serious illness Dr. W. L. van Utrecht, born 13 December 1926 in Tiel, died still very unexpected at the age of 67 year on 10 August 1994. After a study of chemistry and biology he joined from 1952 till 1963 the working group for Cetacea of the Netherlands Organisation of Applied

  3. Preliminary list of the cetaceans of the southern Caribbean

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bree, van P.J.H.

    1975-01-01

    Students working at the Caribbean Marine Biological Institute (CARMABI) on the island of Curaçao asked the present author to provide them with a list of Cetacea occurring in the Caribbean. Until recently, compiling such a list was of little use as our knowledge concerning the cetaceans in the area w

  4. A phylogenetic blueprint for a modern whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gatesy, John; Geisler, Jonathan H; Chang, Joseph; Buell, Carl; Berta, Annalisa; Meredith, Robert W; Springer, Mark S; McGowen, Michael R

    2013-02-01

    The emergence of Cetacea in the Paleogene represents one of the most profound macroevolutionary transitions within Mammalia. The move from a terrestrial habitat to a committed aquatic lifestyle engendered wholesale changes in anatomy, physiology, and behavior. The results of this remarkable transformation are extant whales that include the largest, biggest brained, fastest swimming, loudest, deepest diving mammals, some of which can detect prey with a sophisticated echolocation system (Odontoceti - toothed whales), and others that batch feed using racks of baleen (Mysticeti - baleen whales). A broad-scale reconstruction of the evolutionary remodeling that culminated in extant cetaceans has not yet been based on integration of genomic and paleontological information. Here, we first place Cetacea relative to extant mammalian diversity, and assess the distribution of support among molecular datasets for relationships within Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates, including Cetacea). We then merge trees derived from three large concatenations of molecular and fossil data to yield a composite hypothesis that encompasses many critical events in the evolutionary history of Cetacea. By combining diverse evidence, we infer a phylogenetic blueprint that outlines the stepwise evolutionary development of modern whales. This hypothesis represents a starting point for more detailed, comprehensive phylogenetic reconstructions in the future, and also highlights the synergistic interaction between modern (genomic) and traditional (morphological+paleontological) approaches that ultimately must be exploited to provide a rich understanding of evolutionary history across the entire tree of Life.

  5. Identification of a novel gammaherpesvirus associated with (muco)cutaneous lesions in harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Beurden, Steven J; IJsseldijk, Lonneke L; Ordonez Alvarez, Soledad; Förster, Christine; de Vrieze, Geert; Gröne, Andrea; Verheije, M Hélène; Kik, Marja

    2015-01-01

    Herpesviruses infect a wide range of vertebrates, including toothed whales of the order Cetacea. One of the smallest toothed whales is the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), which is widespread in the coastal waters of the northern hemisphere, including the North Sea. Here, we describe the detect

  6. Spondylitic changes in long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) stranded on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, between 1982 and 2000.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweeny, Melinda M; Price, Janet M; Jones, Gwilym S; French, Thomas W; Early, Greg A; Moore, Michael J

    2005-10-01

    The primary bone pathology diagnoses recognized in cetacea are osteomyelitis and spondylosis deformans. In this study, we determined the prevalence, type, and severity of vertebral pathology in 52 pilot whales, a mass stranding species that stranded on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, between 1982 and 2000. Eleven whales (21%) had hyperostosis and ossification of tendon insertion points on and between vertebrae, chevron bones, and costovertebral joints, with multiple fused blocks of vertebrae. These lesions are typical of a group of interrelated diseases described in humans as spondyloarthropathies, specifically ankylosing spondylitis, which has not been fully described in cetacea. In severe cases, ankylosing spondylitis in humans can inhibit mobility. If the lesions described here negatively affect the overall health of the whale, these lesions may be a contributing factor in stranding of this highly sociable species. PMID:16456160

  7. Rod monochromacy and the coevolution of cetacean retinal opsins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert W Meredith

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Cetaceans have a long history of commitment to a fully aquatic lifestyle that extends back to the Eocene. Extant species have evolved a spectacular array of adaptations in conjunction with their deployment into a diverse array of aquatic habitats. Sensory systems are among those that have experienced radical transformations in the evolutionary history of this clade. In the case of vision, previous studies have demonstrated important changes in the genes encoding rod opsin (RH1, short-wavelength sensitive opsin 1 (SWS1, and long-wavelength sensitive opsin (LWS in selected cetaceans, but have not examined the full complement of opsin genes across the complete range of cetacean families. Here, we report protein-coding sequences for RH1 and both color opsin genes (SWS1, LWS from representatives of all extant cetacean families. We examine competing hypotheses pertaining to the timing of blue shifts in RH1 relative to SWS1 inactivation in the early history of Cetacea, and we test the hypothesis that some cetaceans are rod monochomats. Molecular evolutionary analyses contradict the "coastal" hypothesis, wherein SWS1 was pseudogenized in the common ancestor of Cetacea, and instead suggest that RH1 was blue-shifted in the common ancestor of Cetacea before SWS1 was independently knocked out in baleen whales (Mysticeti and in toothed whales (Odontoceti. Further, molecular evidence implies that LWS was inactivated convergently on at least five occasions in Cetacea: (1 Balaenidae (bowhead and right whales, (2 Balaenopteroidea (rorquals plus gray whale, (3 Mesoplodon bidens (Sowerby's beaked whale, (4 Physeter macrocephalus (giant sperm whale, and (5 Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale. All of these cetaceans are known to dive to depths of at least 100 m where the underwater light field is dim and dominated by blue light. The knockout of both SWS1 and LWS in multiple cetacean lineages renders these taxa rod monochromats, a condition previously unknown among

  8. Biological data of pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata) from a mass stranding in New Caledonia (South Pacific) associated with hurricane Jim in 2006

    OpenAIRE

    Clua, E.E.; Manire, C.A.; Garrigue, Claire

    2014-01-01

    Despite its distribution throughout the tropics and subtropics, the pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata) is one of the most poorly known species of odontocetes (Cetacea: Delphinidae). We used the opportunity of a mass stranding of six animals in New Caledonia (early February 2006) to gather information about their biology. Four animals, including three males and one female, were found dead, and morphometrics, including dental counts, were collected. Two live mature males of 236 and 246 cm to...

  9. The loss of taste genes in cetaceans

    OpenAIRE

    Zhu, Kangli; Zhou, Xuming; Xu, Shixia; Sun, Di; Ren, Wenhua; Zhou, Kaiya; Yang, Guang

    2014-01-01

    Background: Five basic taste modalities, sour, sweet, bitter, salt and umami, can be distinguished by humans and are fundamental for physical and ecological adaptations in mammals. Molecular genetic studies of the receptor genes for these tastes have been conducted in terrestrial mammals; however, little is known about the evolution and adaptation of these genes in marine mammals. Results: Here, all five basic taste modalities, sour, sweet, bitter, salt and umami, were investigated in cetacea...

  10. Whale phylogeny and rapid radiation events revealed using novel retroposed elements and their flanking sequences

    OpenAIRE

    Zhou Kaiya; Xu Shixia; Chen Zhuo; Yang Guang

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Background A diversity of hypotheses have been proposed based on both morphological and molecular data to reveal phylogenetic relationships within the order Cetacea (dolphins, porpoises, and whales), and great progress has been made in the past two decades. However, there is still some controversy concerning relationships among certain cetacean taxa such as river dolphins and delphinoid species, which needs to be further addressed with more markers in an effort to address unresolved ...

  11. De invloed van geluidspollutie op zeezoogdieren

    OpenAIRE

    Doom, Marjan; Cornillie, Pieter; Gielen, Ingrid; Haelters, J

    2013-01-01

    The ancestors of the current whale species (Cetacea) migrated from land to sea millions of years ago. Obviously, this evolutionary movement demanded some radical morphological adjustments. Forelegs changed into flippers, the hind legs became rudimentary, and the nostrils moved dorsally on the skull to function as a blowhole. The sense organs also underwent drastic adaptations. Since visibility is very limited at great depth, whales have to depend on senses other than sight to navigate, forage...

  12. Impact of noise pollution on sea mammals

    OpenAIRE

    Doom, M.; Cornillie, P.; Gielen, I.; Haelters, J

    2013-01-01

    The ancestors of the current whale species (Cetacea) migrated from land to sea millions of years ago. Obviously, this evolutionary movement demanded some radical morphological adjustments. Forelegs changed into flippers, the hind legs became rudimentary, and the nostrils moved dorsally on the skull to function as a blowhole. The sense organs also underwent drastic adaptations. Since visibility is very limited at great depth, whales have to depend on senses other than sight to navigate, forage...

  13. Back to Water: Signature of Adaptive Evolution in Cetacean Mitochondrial tRNAs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montelli, Stefano; Peruffo, Antonella; Patarnello, Tomaso; Cozzi, Bruno; Negrisolo, Enrico

    2016-01-01

    The mitochondrion is the power plant of the eukaryotic cell, and tRNAs are the fundamental components of its translational machinery. In the present paper, the evolution of mitochondrial tRNAs was investigated in the Cetacea, a clade of Cetartiodactyla that retuned to water and thus had to adapt its metabolism to a different medium than that of its mainland ancestors. Our analysis focussed on identifying the factors that influenced the evolution of Cetacea tRNA double-helix elements, which play a pivotal role in the formation of the secondary and tertiary structures of each tRNA and consequently manipulate the whole translation machinery of the mitochondrion. Our analyses showed that the substitution pathways in the stems of different tRNAs were influenced by various factors, determining a molecular evolution that was unique to each of the 22 tRNAs. Our data suggested that the composition, AT-skew, and GC-skew of the tRNA stems were the main factors influencing the substitution process. In particular, the range of variation and the fluctuation of these parameters affected the fate of single tRNAs. Strong heterogeneity was observed among the different species of Cetacea. Finally, it appears that the evolution of mitochondrial tRNAs was also shaped by the environments in which the Cetacean taxa differentiated. This latter effect was particularly evident in toothed whales that either live in freshwater or are deep divers. PMID:27336480

  14. Back to Water: Signature of Adaptive Evolution in Cetacean Mitochondrial tRNAs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patarnello, Tomaso; Cozzi, Bruno; Negrisolo, Enrico

    2016-01-01

    The mitochondrion is the power plant of the eukaryotic cell, and tRNAs are the fundamental components of its translational machinery. In the present paper, the evolution of mitochondrial tRNAs was investigated in the Cetacea, a clade of Cetartiodactyla that retuned to water and thus had to adapt its metabolism to a different medium than that of its mainland ancestors. Our analysis focussed on identifying the factors that influenced the evolution of Cetacea tRNA double-helix elements, which play a pivotal role in the formation of the secondary and tertiary structures of each tRNA and consequently manipulate the whole translation machinery of the mitochondrion. Our analyses showed that the substitution pathways in the stems of different tRNAs were influenced by various factors, determining a molecular evolution that was unique to each of the 22 tRNAs. Our data suggested that the composition, AT-skew, and GC-skew of the tRNA stems were the main factors influencing the substitution process. In particular, the range of variation and the fluctuation of these parameters affected the fate of single tRNAs. Strong heterogeneity was observed among the different species of Cetacea. Finally, it appears that the evolution of mitochondrial tRNAs was also shaped by the environments in which the Cetacean taxa differentiated. This latter effect was particularly evident in toothed whales that either live in freshwater or are deep divers. PMID:27336480

  15. Phylogeny and adaptive evolution of the brain-development gene microcephalin (MCPH1 in cetaceans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Montgomery Stephen H

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Representatives of Cetacea have the greatest absolute brain size among animals, and the largest relative brain size aside from humans. Despite this, genes implicated in the evolution of large brain size in primates have yet to be surveyed in cetaceans. Results We sequenced ~1240 basepairs of the brain development gene microcephalin (MCPH1 in 38 cetacean species. Alignments of these data and a published complete sequence from Tursiops truncatus with primate MCPH1 were utilized in phylogenetic analyses and to estimate ω (rate of nonsynonymous substitution/rate of synonymous substitution using site and branch models of molecular evolution. We also tested the hypothesis that selection on MCPH1 was correlated with brain size in cetaceans using a continuous regression analysis that accounted for phylogenetic history. Our analyses revealed widespread signals of adaptive evolution in the MCPH1 of Cetacea and in other subclades of Mammalia, however, there was not a significant positive association between ω and brain size within Cetacea. Conclusion In conjunction with a recent study of Primates, we find no evidence to support an association between MCPH1 evolution and the evolution of brain size in highly encephalized mammalian species. Our finding of significant positive selection in MCPH1 may be linked to other functions of the gene.

  16. A comparative study of the inner ear structures of artiodactyls and early cetaceans

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Klingshirn, M.A. [Ashland Univ., OH (United States); Luo, Z. [College of Charleston, SC (United States)

    1994-12-31

    It has been suggested that the order Cetacea (whales and porpoises) are closely related to artiodactyls, even-hoofed ungulate mammals such as the pig and cow. Paleontological and molecular data strongly supports this concept of phylogenetic relationships. In a study of DNA sequences of two mitochondrial ribosomal gene segments of cetaceans, the artiodactyls were found to be closest related to Cetaceans. These well accepted studies on the phylogenetic affinities of artiodactyls and cetaceans cause us to conduct a comparative study of the bony structure of the inner ear of these two taxa.

  17. Cetacean Acoustics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Au, Whitlow W. L.; Lammers, Marc O.

    The mammalian order cetacea consist of dolphins and whales, animals that are found in all the oceans and seas of the world. A few species even inhabit fresh water lakes and rivers. A list of 80 species of cetaceans in a convenient table is presented by Ridgway [20.1]. These mammals vary considerably in size, from the largest living mammal, the large blue whale (balaenoptera musculus), to the very small harbor porpoise (phocoena phocoena) and Commerson's dolphin (cephalorhynchus commersonnii), which are typically slightly over a meter in length.

  18. Ancestor-descendant relationships in evolution: origin of the extant pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2015-01-01

    Ancestor-descendant relationships (ADRs), involving descent with modification, are the fundamental concept in evolution, but are usually difficult to recognize. We examined the cladistic relationship between the only reported fossil pygmy right whale, †Miocaperea pulchra, and its sole living relative, the enigmatic pygmy right whale Caperea marginata, the latter represented by both adult and juvenile specimens. †Miocaperea is phylogenetically bracketed between juvenile and adult Caperea marginata in morphologically based analyses, thus suggesting a possible ADR-the first so far identified within baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti). The †Miocaperea-Caperea lineage may show long-term morphological stasis and, in turn, punctuated equilibrium.

  19. Ancestor-descendant relationships in evolution: origin of the extant pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2015-01-01

    Ancestor-descendant relationships (ADRs), involving descent with modification, are the fundamental concept in evolution, but are usually difficult to recognize. We examined the cladistic relationship between the only reported fossil pygmy right whale, †Miocaperea pulchra, and its sole living relative, the enigmatic pygmy right whale Caperea marginata, the latter represented by both adult and juvenile specimens. †Miocaperea is phylogenetically bracketed between juvenile and adult Caperea marginata in morphologically based analyses, thus suggesting a possible ADR-the first so far identified within baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti). The †Miocaperea-Caperea lineage may show long-term morphological stasis and, in turn, punctuated equilibrium. PMID:25589485

  20. Kraniometrija dobrog dupina (Tursiops truncatus) iz Jadranskoga mora.

    OpenAIRE

    Đuras, Martina; Divac Brnić, Dušica; Gomerčić, Tomislav; Galov, Ana

    2014-01-01

    Dobri dupin (Tursiops truncatus) pripadnik je reda kitova (Cetacea) koji nastanjuje gotovo sva mora svijeta i čija se morfologija značajno razlikuje između populacija. Jedna ugrožena i zakonom zaštićena populacija dobrog dupina nastanjuje i Jadransko more. U ovom radu morfometrijski je obrađeno 95 lubanja odraslih dobrih dupina (47 ženki i 43 mužjaka, 5 nepoznatog spola) podrijetlom od dobrih dupina uginulih od 1990. do 2011. u hrvatskom dijelu Jadranskoga mora. Na svakoj lubanji izmjerene su...

  1. Willem Lodewijk van Utrecht in memoriam

    OpenAIRE

    Spoel, van der, S.

    1994-01-01

    After a few years of serious illness Dr. W. L. van Utrecht, born 13 December 1926 in Tiel, died still very unexpected at the age of 67 year on 10 August 1994. After a study of chemistry and biology he joined from 1952 till 1963 the working group for Cetacea of the Netherlands Organisation of Applied Sciences (TNO), and the University of Amsterdam in the periods 1953-1956 and 1963-1988. In the season 1953/54 his first large expedition took place with the catcher “Enern”, a three month trip for...

  2. Molecular evolution of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA in Ungulata (mammalia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Douzery, E; Catzeflis, F M

    1995-11-01

    The complete 12S rRNA gene has been sequenced in 4 Ungulata (hoofed eutherians) and 1 marsupial and compared to 38 available mammalian sequences in order to investigate the molecular evolution of the mitochondrial small-subunit ribosomal RNA molecule. Ungulata were represented by one artiodactyl (the collared peccary, Tayassu tajacu, suborder Suiformes), two perissodactyls (the Grevy's zebra, Equus grevyi, suborder Hippomorpha; the white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum, suborder Ceratomorpha), and one hyracoid (the tree hyrax, Dendrohyrax dorsalis). The fifth species was a marsupial, the eastern gray kangaroo (Macropus giganteus). Several transition/transversion biases characterized the pattern of changes between mammalian 12S rRNA molecules. A bias toward transitions was found among 12S rRNA sequences of Ungulata, illustrating the general bias exhibited by ribosomal and protein-encoding genes of the mitochondrial genome. The derivation of a mammalian 12S rRNA secondary structure model from the comparison of 43 eutherian and marsupial sequences evidenced a pronounced bias against transversions in stems. Moreover, transversional compensatory changes were rare events within double-stranded regions of the ribosomal RNA. Evolutionary characteristics of the 12S rRNA were compared with those of the nuclear 18S and 28S rRNAs. From a phylogenetic point of view, transitions, transversions and indels in stems as well as transversional and indels events in loops gave congruent results for comparisons within orders. Some compensatory changes in double-stranded regions and some indels in single-stranded regions also constituted diagnostic events. The 12S rRNA molecule confirmed the monophyly of infraorder Pecora and order Cetacea and demonstrated the monophyly of the suborder Ruminantia was not supported and the branching pattern between Cetacea and the artiodacytyl suborders Ruminantia and Suiformes was not established. The monophyly of the order Perissodactyla was evidenced

  3. Placentation in dolphins from the Amazon River Basin: the Boto, Inia geoffrensis, and the Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bonatelli Marina

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract A recent reassessment of the phylogenetic affinities of cetaceans makes it timely to compare their placentation with that of the artiodactyls. We studied the placentae of two sympatric species of dolphin from the Amazon River Basin, representing two distinct families. The umbilical cord branched to supply a bilobed allantoic sac. Small blood vessels and smooth muscle bundles were found within the stroma of the cord. Foci of squamous metaplasia occurred in the allanto-amnion and allantochorion. The interhemal membrane of the placenta was of the epitheliochorial type. Two different types of trophoblastic epithelium were seen. Most was of the simple columnar type and indented by fetal capillaries. However, there were also areolar regions with tall columnar trophoblast and these were more sparsely supplied with capillaries. The endometrium was well vascularised and richly supplied with actively secreting glands. These findings are consistent with the current view that Cetacea are nested within Artiodactyla as sister group to the hippopotamids.

  4. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2014-09-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  5. The origin and early evolution of whales: macroevolution documented on the Indian Subcontinent

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    S Bajpai; J G M Thewissen; A Sahni

    2009-11-01

    The origin of whales (order Cetacea) from a four-footed land animal is one of the best understood examples of macroevolutionary change. This evolutionary transition has been substantially elucidated by fossil finds from the Indian subcontinent in the past decade and a half. Here, we review the first steps of whale evolution, i.e. the transition from a land mammal to obligate marine predators, documented by the Eocene cetacean families of the Indian subcontinent: Pakicetidae, Ambulocetidae, Remingtonocetidae, Protocetidae, and Basilosauridae, as well as their artiodactyl sister group, the Raoellidae. We also discuss the influence that the excellent fossil record has on the study of the evolution of organ systems, in particular the locomotor and hearing systems.

  6. Metals elements and chlorinated compounds in cetaceans; Elementi metallici e composti organoclorurati in cetacei

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cardellicchio, N. [Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Ist. Sperimentale Talassografico, Taranto (Italy)

    1997-01-01

    Non-degradable pollutants determination in cetacea, high tropic level organisms, represents an evaluating element both for bioaccumulation phenomena and sea ecosystem quality. In this paper is shown determination results for metals, chlorinated pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in Stenella coeruleoalba specimens, beached along the coast of Puglia (Italy), in the period February-June 1987. Chemical-toxicological surveys verified that in there Mediterranean marine mammals pollutant accumulation is higher than in Atlantic species. Lipophylous toxical compounds transferred from mothers to offspring represents a high risk for their survival. even though this survey failed to establish a direct cause-effect relationship between pollutant levels and anatomical-pathological lesions, it is apparent that sea pollution phenomena are reflected negatively in the top of the food chains.

  7. MIDDLE PLIOCENE CETACEANS FROM MONTE VOLTRAIO (TUSCANY, ITALY. BIOSTRATIGRAPHICAL, PALEOECOLOGICAL AND PALEOCLIMATIC OBSERVATIONS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    GIOVANNI BIANUCCI

    1998-03-01

    Full Text Available The historic collection of fossil odontocetes (Cetacea from Monte Voltraio, near Volterra (Tuscany, Italy has been examined and lithostratigraphical and biostratigraphical investigations on the find locality have been carried out. The Monte Voltraio outcrop is referred to the Middle Pliocene, in particular to Globorotalia aemiliana and Discoaster tamalis zones. The odontocete remains are assigned to the families Kogiidae (Kogia pusilla and Delphinidae (Globicephala? etruriae and two indeterminate specimens which might belong to Hemisyntrachelus and Stenella giulii. The Middle Pliocene cetacean fauna from the Mediterranean basin (Monte Voltraio and Rio Stramonte associations includes extinct taxa or extant taxa no longer represented in this basin. The disappearance of these taxa may be linked with the Pliocene and/or Quaternary climatic deteriorations (e.g. the climatic crisis at about 2.6-2.4 MA. 

  8. Evolutionary affinities of the order Perissodactyla and the phylogenetic status of the superordinal taxa Ungulata and Altungulata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graur, D; Gouy, M; Duret, L

    1997-04-01

    Contrary to morphological claims, molecular data indicate that the order Perissodactyla (e.g., horses, rhinoceroses, and tapirs) is neither part of the superordinal taxon Paenungulata (Sirenia, Proboscidea, and Hyracoidea) nor an immediate outgroup of the paenungulates. Rather, Perissodactyla is closer to Carnivora and Cetartiodactyla (Cetacea+Artiodactyla) than it is to the paenungulates. Therefore, two morphologically defined superordinal taxa, Altungulata (Proboscidea, Sirenia, Hyracoidea, and Perissodactyla) and Ungulata (Altungulata and Cetartiodactyla), are invalidated. Perissodactyla, Carnivora, and Cetartiodactyla are shown to constitute a rather tight trichotomy. However, a molecular analysis of 36 protein sequences with a total concatenated length of 7885 aligned amino acids indicates that Perissodactyla is closer to Cetartiodactyla than either taxa is to Carnivora. The relationships among Paenungulata, Primates, and the clade consisting of Perissodactyla, Carnivora, and Cetartiodactylaa could not be resolved on the basis of the available data. PMID:9126561

  9. Distribution of mammals in Albania

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claudio Prigioni

    1996-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Some 63 species have been recorded in Albania from 1950 to 1994, with the exclusion of Cetacea. Another 15 species, including 5 found on the eastern border between Albania and Greece, are considered probably present. Hence 78 species could occur in Albania. According to IUCN red list of threatened animals, 8 species are defined as vulnerable, 15 as lower risk and one (the Mediterranean monk seal as critically endangered. In Albania, the legal protection of mammals includes all bat species, carnivores (except the stone marten, the red fox and the wolf, the chamois, the roe deer and the Mediterranean monk seal. General information on the distributional pattern and the population size is reported for some species, mainly carnivores.

  10. Identification and characterization of a tandem repeat in exon III of the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene in cetaceans

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mogensen, Line; Kinze, Carl Christian; Werge, Thomas;

    2006-01-01

    A large number of mammalian species harbor a tandem repeat in exon III of the gene encoding dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4), a receptor associated with cognitive functions. In this study, a DRD4 gene exon III tandem repeat from the order Cetacea was identified and characterized. Included in our study...... were samples from 10 white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris), 10 harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), eight sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), and five minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). Using enzymatic amplification followed by sequencing of amplified fragments, a tandem repeat...... composed of 18-bp basic units was detected in all of these species. The tandem repeats in white-beaked dolphin and harbor porpoise were both monomorphic and consisted of 11 and 12 basic units, respectively. In contrast, the sperm whale harbored a polymorphic tandem repeat with size variants composed...

  11. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R. Ewan

    2014-09-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  12. Archaeocete-like jaws in a baleen whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitzgerald, Erich M G

    2012-02-23

    The titanic baleen whales (Cetacea, Mysticeti) have a bizarre skull morphology, including an elastic mandibular symphysis, which permits dynamic oral cavity expansion during bulk feeding. How this key innovation evolved from the sutured symphysis of archaeocetes has remained unclear. Now, mandibles of the Oligocene toothed mysticete Janjucetus hunderi show that basal mysticetes had an archaeocete-like sutured symphysis. This archaic morphology was paired with a wide rostrum typical of later-diverging baleen whales. This demonstrates that increased oral capacity via rostral widening preceded the evolution of mandibular innovations for filter feeding. Thus, the initial evolution of the mysticetes' unique cranial form and huge mouths was perhaps not linked to filtering plankton, but to enhancing suction feeding on individual prey.

  13. Comparative Anatomy of the Bony Labyrinth (Inner Ear of Placental Mammals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric G Ekdale

    Full Text Available Variation is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is observable at all levels of morphology, from anatomical variations of DNA molecules to gross variations between whole organisms. The structure of the otic region is no exception. The present paper documents the broad morphological diversity exhibited by the inner ear region of placental mammals using digital endocasts constructed from high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT. Descriptions cover the major placental clades, and linear, angular, and volumetric dimensions are reported.The size of the labyrinth is correlated to the overall body mass of individuals, such that large bodied mammals have absolutely larger labyrinths. The ratio between the average arc radius of curvature of the three semicircular canals and body mass of aquatic species is substantially lower than the ratios of related terrestrial taxa, and the volume percentage of the vestibular apparatus of aquatic mammals tends to be less than that calculated for terrestrial species. Aspects of the bony labyrinth are phylogenetically informative, including vestibular reduction in Cetacea, a tall cochlear spiral in caviomorph rodents, a low position of the plane of the lateral semicircular canal compared to the posterior canal in Cetacea and Carnivora, and a low cochlear aspect ratio in Primatomorpha.The morphological descriptions that are presented add a broad baseline of anatomy of the inner ear across many placental mammal clades, for many of which the structure of the bony labyrinth is largely unknown. The data included here complement the growing body of literature on the physiological and phylogenetic significance of bony labyrinth structures in mammals, and they serve as a source of data for future studies on the evolution and function of the vertebrate ear.

  14. Use of Micro-Computed Tomography for Dental Studies in Modern and Fossil Odontocetes: Potential Applications and Limitations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carolina Loch

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Teeth are important elements in studies of modern and fossil Cetacea (whales, dolphins, providing information on feeding habits, estimations of age and phylogenetic relationships. The growth layer groups (GLGs recorded in dentine have demonstrated application for aging studies, but also have the potential to elucidate life history phenomena such as metabolic or physiologic events. Micro-Computed Tomography (Micro-CT is a non-invasive and non-destructive technique that allows 3-dimensional study of mineralized tissues, such as human teeth, and their physical properties. Teeth from extant dolphins (Cetacea: Odontoceti and some fossil odontocetes were scanned in a Skyscan 1172 Micro-CT desktop system. X-rays were generated at 100 kV and 100 µA for extant samples, and at 80kV and 124 µA for fossils. 0.5 mm thick aluminum and copper filters were used in the beam. Reconstructed images were informative for most extant species, showing a good resolution of the enamel layer, dentine and pulp cavity. Greyscale changes in the dentinal layers were not resolved enough to show GLGs. Visualization of the internal structure in fossil cetacean teeth depended on the degree of diagenetic alteration in the specimen; undifferentiated enamel and dentine regions probably reflect secondary mineralization. However, internal details were finely resolved for one fossil specimen, showing the enamel, internal layers of dentine and the pulp cavity. Micro-CT has been proven to be a useful tool for resolving the internal morphology of fossil and extant teeth of cetaceans before they are sectioned for other morphological analyses; however some methodological refinements are still necessary to allow better resolution of dentine for potential application in non-destructive age determination studies. 

  15. Whale phylogeny and rapid radiation events revealed using novel retroposed elements and their flanking sequences

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhou Kaiya

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background A diversity of hypotheses have been proposed based on both morphological and molecular data to reveal phylogenetic relationships within the order Cetacea (dolphins, porpoises, and whales, and great progress has been made in the past two decades. However, there is still some controversy concerning relationships among certain cetacean taxa such as river dolphins and delphinoid species, which needs to be further addressed with more markers in an effort to address unresolved portions of the phylogeny. Results An analysis of additional SINE insertions and SINE-flanking sequences supported the monophyly of the order Cetacea as well as Odontocete, Delphinoidea (Delphinidae + Phocoenidae + Mondontidae, and Delphinidae. A sister relationship between Delphinidae and Phocoenidae + Mondontidae was supported, and members of classical river dolphins and the genera Tursiops and Stenella were found to be paraphyletic. Estimates of divergence times revealed rapid divergences of basal Odontocete lineages in the Oligocene and Early Miocene, and a recent rapid diversification of Delphinidae in the Middle-Late Miocene and Pliocene within a narrow time frame. Conclusions Several novel SINEs were found to differentiate Delphinidae from the other two families (Monodontidae and Phocoenidae, whereas the sister grouping of the latter two families with exclusion of Delphinidae was further revealed using the SINE-flanking sequences. Interestingly, some anomalous PCR amplification patterns of SINE insertions were detected, which can be explained as the result of potential ancestral SINE polymorphisms and incomplete lineage sorting. Although a few loci were potentially anomalous, this study demonstrated that the SINE-based approach is a powerful tool in phylogenetic studies. Identifying additional SINE elements that resolve the relationships in the superfamily Delphinoidea and family Delphinidae will be important steps forward in completely resolving

  16. Seven new dolphin mitochondrial genomes and a time-calibrated phylogeny of whales

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    Zhou Kaiya

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The phylogeny of Cetacea (whales is not fully resolved with substantial support. The ambiguous and conflicting results of multiple phylogenetic studies may be the result of the use of too little data, phylogenetic methods that do not adequately capture the complex nature of DNA evolution, or both. In addition, there is also evidence that the generic taxonomy of Delphinidae (dolphins underestimates its diversity. To remedy these problems, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial genomes of seven dolphins and analyzed these data with partitioned Bayesian analyses. Moreover, we incorporate a newly-developed "relaxed" molecular clock to model heterogenous rates of evolution among cetacean lineages. Results The "deep" phylogenetic relationships are well supported including the monophyly of Cetacea and Odontoceti. However, there is ambiguity in the phylogenetic affinities of two of the river dolphin clades Platanistidae (Indian River dolphins and Lipotidae (Yangtze River dolphins. The phylogenetic analyses support a sister relationship between Delphinidae and Monodontidae + Phocoenidae. Additionally, there is statistically significant support for the paraphyly of Tursiops (bottlenose dolphins and Stenella (spotted dolphins. Conclusion Our phylogenetic analysis of complete mitochondrial genomes using recently developed models of rate autocorrelation resolved the phylogenetic relationships of the major Cetacean lineages with a high degree of confidence. Our results indicate that a rapid radiation of lineages explains the lack of support the placement of Platanistidae and Lipotidae. Moreover, our estimation of molecular divergence dates indicates that these radiations occurred in the Middle to Late Oligocene and Middle Miocene, respectively. Furthermore, by collecting and analyzing seven new mitochondrial genomes, we provide strong evidence that the delphinid genera Tursiops and Stenella are not monophyletic, and the current taxonomy

  17. Cone visual pigments of aquatic mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newman, Lucy A; Robinson, Phyllis R

    2005-01-01

    It has long been hypothesized that the visual systems of animals are evolutionarily adapted to their visual environment. The entrance many millions of years ago of mammals into the sea gave these new aquatic mammals completely novel visual surroundings with respect to light availability and predominant wavelengths. This study examines the cone opsins of marine mammals, hypothesizing, based on previous studies [Fasick et al. (1998) and Levenson & Dizon (2003)], that the deep-dwelling marine mammals would not have color vision because the pressure to maintain color vision in the dark monochromatic ocean environment has been relaxed. Short-wavelength-sensitive (SWS) and long-wavelength-sensitive (LWS) cone opsin genes from two orders (Cetacea and Sirenia) and an additional suborder (Pinnipedia) of aquatic mammals were amplified from genomic DNA (for SWS) and cDNA (for LWS) by PCR, cloned, and sequenced. All animals studied from the order Cetacea have SWS pseudogenes, whereas a representative from the order Sirenia has an intact SWS gene, for which the corresponding mRNA was found in the retina. One of the pinnipeds studied (harp seal) has an SWS pseudogene, while another species (harbor seal) appeared to have an intact SWS gene. However, no SWS cone opsin mRNA was found in the harbor seal retina, suggesting a promoter or splice site mutation preventing transcription of the gene. The LWS opsins from the different species were expressed in mammalian cells and reconstituted with the 11-cis-retinal chromophore in order to determine maximal absorption wavelengths (lambda(max)) for each. The deeper dwelling Cetacean species had blue shifted lambda(max) values compared to shallower-dwelling aquatic species. Taken together, these findings support the hypothesis that in the monochromatic oceanic habitat, the pressure to maintain color vision has been relaxed and mutations are retained in the SWS genes, resulting in pseudogenes. Additionally, LWS opsins are retained in the

  18. Evolution of marine mammals: back to the sea after 300 million years.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uhen, Mark D

    2007-06-01

    The fossil record demonstrates that mammals re-entered the marine realm on at least seven separate occasions. Five of these clades are still extant, whereas two are extinct. This review presents a brief introduction to the phylogeny of each group of marine mammals, based on the latest studies using both morphological and molecular data. Evolutionary highlights are presented, focusing on changes affecting the sensory systems, locomotion, breathing, feeding, and reproduction in Cetacea, Sirenia, Desmostylia, and Pinnipedia. Aquatic adaptations are specifically cited, supported by data from morphological and geochemical studies. For example, analysis of oxygen isotopes incorporated into fossil tooth enamel indicates whether these mammals foraged in (and, therefore, ingested) fresh water or sea water. Comparisons between groups are made to see if there are any common patterns, particularly relating to adaptations to aquatic life. Results show that aquatic characteristics evolved in mosaic patterns and that different morphological solutions to aquatic conditions were achieved separately in each of these groups. Changes in the axial and appendicular skeleton assist with locomotion for aquatic foraging. Nostril and eye placement modifications accommodate wading versus underwater foraging needs. All groups exhibit aquatic adaptations directly related to feeding, particularly changes in the dentition and rostrum. The earliest representatives of these clades all show morphological features that indicate they were feeding while in the water, suggesting that feeding ecology is a key factor in the evolution of marine mammals. PMID:17516441

  19. REVISED AND COMMENTED CHECKLIST OF MAMMAL SPECIES OF THE ROMANIAN FAUNA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dumitru Murariu

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Due to the permanent influences of different factors (habitat degradation and fragmentation, deforestation, infrastructure and urbanization, natural extension or decreasing of some species’ distribution, increasing number of alien species etc., from time to time the faunistic structure of a certain area is changing. As a result of the permanent and increasing anthropic and invasive species’ pressure, our previous checklist of recent mammals from Romania (since 1984 became out of date. A number of 108 taxa are mentioned in this checklist, representing 7 orders of mammals: Insectivora (10 species, Chiroptera (30 sp., Lagomorpha (2 sp., Rodentia (35 sp., Cetacea (3 sp., Carnivora (19 sp., Artiodactyla (8 sp.. In this list are mentioned the scientific and vernacular names (in Romanian and English languages, species distribution and conservation status, according to the Romanian regulations. Thus, only 21 species have stable populations while 76 have populations in decline or in drastic decline. Other categories are not evaluated or even present an increase in their population.

  20. A higher-level MRP supertree of placental mammals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bininda-Emonds Olaf RP

    2006-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The higher-level phylogeny of placental mammals has long been a phylogenetic Gordian knot, with disagreement about both the precise contents of, and relationships between, the extant orders. A recent MRP supertree that favoured 'outdated' hypotheses (notably, monophyly of both Artiodactyla and Lipotyphla has been heavily criticised for including low-quality and redundant data. We apply a stringent data selection protocol designed to minimise these problems to a much-expanded data set of morphological, molecular and combined source trees, to produce a supertree that includes every family of extant placental mammals. Results The supertree is well-resolved and supports both polyphyly of Lipotyphla and paraphyly of Artiodactyla with respect to Cetacea. The existence of four 'superorders' – Afrotheria, Xenarthra, Laurasiatheria and Euarchontoglires – is also supported. The topology is highly congruent with recent (molecular phylogenetic analyses of placental mammals, but is considerably more comprehensive, being the first phylogeny to include all 113 extant families without making a priori assumptions of suprafamilial monophyly. Subsidiary analyses reveal that the data selection protocol played a key role in the major changes relative to a previously published higher-level supertree of placentals. Conclusion The supertree should provide a useful framework for hypothesis testing in phylogenetic comparative biology, and supports the idea that biogeography has played a crucial role in the evolution of placental mammals. Our results demonstrate the importance of minimising poor and redundant data when constructing supertrees.

  1. Beaked whales echolocate on prey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter T; Zimmer, Walter M X; de Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-12-01

    Beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidea) of the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon are so difficult to study that they are mostly known from strandings. How these elusive toothed whales use and react to sound is of concern because they mass strand during naval sonar exercises. A new non-invasive acoustic ording tag was attached to four beaked whales(two Mesoplodon densirostris and two Ziphius cavirostris) and recorded high-frequency clicks during deep dives. The tagged whales only clicked at depths below 200 m, down to a maximum depth of 1267 m. Both species produced a large number of short, directional, ultrasonic clicks with significant energy below 20 kHz. The tags recorded echoes from prey items; to our knowledge, a first for any animal echolocating in the wild. As far as we are aware, these echoes provide the first direct evidence on how free-ranging toothed whales use echolocation in foraging. The strength of these echoes suggests that the source level of Mesoplodon clicks is in the range of 200-220 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m. This paper presents conclusive data on the normal vocalizations of these beaked whale species, which may enable acoustic monitoring to mitigate exposure to sounds intense enough to harm them.

  2. Complete amino acid sequence of the major component myoglobin from the goose-beaked whale, Ziphius cavirostris.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehman, L D; Jones, B N; Dwulet, F E; Bogardt, R A; Gurd, F R

    1980-10-21

    The complete primary structure of the major component myoglobin from the goose-beaked whale, Ziphius cavirostris, was determined by specific cleavage of the protein to obtain large peptides which are readily degraded by the automatic sequencer. Over 80% of the amino acid sequence was established from the three peptides resulting from the cleavage of the apomyoglobin at its two methionine residues with cyanogen bromide along with the four peptides resulting from the cleavage with trypsin of the citraconylated apomyoglobin at its three arginine residues. Further digestion of the central cyanogen bromide peptide with S. aureus strain V8 protease and the 1,2-cyclohexanedione-treated central cyanogen bromide peptide with trypsin enabled the determination of the remainder of the covalent structure. This myoglobin differs from the cetacean myoglobins determined to date at 12 to 17 positions. These large sequence differences reflect the distant taxonomic relationships between the goose-beaked whale and the other species of Cetacea the myoglobin sequences of which have previously been determined.

  3. Cranial remain from Tunisia provides new clues for the origin and evolution of Sirenia (Mammalia, Afrotheria in Africa.

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    Julien Benoit

    Full Text Available Sea cows (manatees, dugongs are the only living marine mammals to feed solely on aquatic plants. Unlike whales or dolphins (Cetacea, the earliest evolutionary history of sirenians is poorly documented, and limited to a few fossils including skulls and skeletons of two genera composing the stem family of Prorastomidae (Prorastomus and Pezosiren. Surprisingly, these fossils come from the Eocene of Jamaica, while stem Hyracoidea and Proboscidea--the putative sister-groups to Sirenia--are recorded in Africa as early as the Late Paleocene. So far, the historical biogeography of early Sirenia has remained obscure given this paradox between phylogeny and fossil record. Here we use X-ray microtomography to investigate a newly discovered sirenian petrosal from the Eocene of Tunisia. This fossil represents the oldest occurrence of sirenians in Africa. The morphology of this petrosal is more primitive than the Jamaican prorastomids' one, which emphasizes the basal position of this new African taxon within the Sirenia clade. This discovery testifies to the great antiquity of Sirenia in Africa, and therefore supports their African origin. While isotopic analyses previously suggested sirenians had adapted directly to the marine environment, new paleoenvironmental evidence suggests that basal-most sea cows were likely restricted to fresh waters.

  4. Fetal and early post-natal mineralization of the tympanic bulla in fin whales may reveal a Hitherto undiscovered evolutionary trait.

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    Bruno Cozzi

    Full Text Available The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 million years ago [1], and debate is still going on about the relationships between Cetacea and Artiodactyla [2], [3], [4]. Some skeletal traits of the basilosaurids (the more advanced forms of Archaeocetes, such as the expansion of the peribullary air sinuses, dental modification and vertebral size uniformity [5] are maintained and further emphasized also in contemporary odontocetes and mysticetes. Using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry here we report that the deposition of bone mineral in fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus is remarkably higher in the bulla tympanica than in the adjacent basal skull or in the rest of the skeleton. Ossification of the tympanic bulla in fetal Artiodactyla (bovine, hippopotamus is minimal, becomes sensible after birth and then progresses during growth, contrarily to the precocious mineralization that we observed in fin whales. Given the importance of the ear bones for the precise identification of phylogenetic relationship in therian evolution [6], this feature may indicate a specific evolutionary trait of fin whales and possibly other cetacean species or families. Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal survival.

  5. Efficiency of wear and decalcification technique for estimating the age of estuarine dolphin Sotalia guianensis

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Nicolle V Sydney; Emygdio La Monteiro-Filho

    2011-03-01

    Most techniques used for estimating the age of Sotalia guianensis (van Bénéden, 1864) (Cetacea; Delphinidae) are very expensive, and require sophisticated equipment for preparing histological sections of teeth. The objective of this study was to test a more affordable and much simpler method, involving of the manual wear of teeth followed by decalcification and observation under a stereomicroscope. This technique has been employed successfully with larger species of Odontoceti. Twenty-six specimens were selected, and one tooth of each specimen was worn and demineralized for growth layers reading. Growth layers were evidenced in all specimens; however, in 4 of the 26 teeth, not all the layers could be clearly observed. In these teeth, there was a significant decrease of growth layer group thickness, thus hindering the layers count. The juxtaposition of layers hindered the reading of larger numbers of layers by the wear and decalcification technique. Analysis of more than 17 layers in a single tooth proved inconclusive. The method applied here proved to be efficient in estimating the age of Sotalia guianensis individuals younger than 18 years. This method could simplify the study of the age structure of the overall population, and allows the use of the more expensive methodologies to be confined to more specific studies of older specimens. It also enables the classification of the calf, young and adult classes, which is important for general population studies.

  6. Electrocardiography in two subspecies of manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris and T. m. manatus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siegal-Willott, Jessica; Estrada, Amara; Bonde, Robert; Wong, Arthur; Estrada, Daniel J; Harr, Kendal

    2006-12-01

    Electrocardiographic (ECG) measurements were recorded in two subspecies of awake, apparently healthy, wild manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris and T. m. manatus) undergoing routine field examinations in Florida and Belize. Six unsedated juveniles (dependent and independent calves) and 6 adults were restrained in ventral recumbency for ECG measurements. Six lead ECGs were recorded for all manatees and the following parameters were determined: heart rate and rhythm; P, QRS, and T wave morphology, amplitude, and duration; and mean electrical axis (MEA). Statistical differences using a t-test for equality of means were determined. No statistical difference was seen based on sex or subspecies of manatees in the above measured criteria. Statistical differences existed in heart rate (P = 0.047), P wave duration (P = 0.019), PR interval (P = 0.025), and MEA (P = 0.021) between adult manatees and calves. Our findings revealed normal sinus rhythms, no detectable arrhythmias, prolonged PR and QT intervals, prolonged P wave duration, and small R wave amplitude as compared with cetacea and other marine mammals. This paper documents the techniques for and baseline recordings of ECGs in juvenile and adult free-living manatees. It also demonstrates that continual assessment of cardiac electrical activity in the awake manatee can be completed and can be used to aid veterinarians and biologists in routine health assessment, during procedures, and in detecting the presence of cardiac disease or dysfunction. PMID:17315428

  7. The complete mitochondrial genome of Juema pig Sus scrofa (Suina: Suidae) from southern Gansu.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Yan-Yan; Tian, Xiao-Xiao; Chen, Lei-Lei; Pan, Hong-Chun

    2016-09-01

    Juema pig is a kind of rare and special pig which is well adapted to high altitude, cold climate and harsh natural environment. The complete mitochondrial genome of Juema pig Sus scrofa is a circular molecule of 16 532 bp in length, containing 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNAs, 22 transfer RNAs, and a control region. The A + T content of the overall base composition of H-strand is 60.7% (T: 26.2%; C: 26.0%; A: 34.5%; G: 13.3%). ND4L gene begins with GTG as start codon, ND2, ND3, and ND5 genes begin with ATA as a start codon, and other nine protein-coding genes start with ATG. Cyt b gene is terminated with AGA as stop codon, ND1 and ND2 genes are terminated with TAG as stop codon, COII, COIII, ND3, and ND4 end with T, while ATP6, ATP8, COI, ND4L, ND5, and ND6 end with TAA. In addition, the phylogenetic relationships from neighbor-joining analyses based on the 13 concatenated PCGs indicated (Tylopoda (Suina (Ruminantia (Hippopotamidae, Cetacea)))). PMID:26359921

  8. Mitogenomic analyses of eutherian relationships.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnason, U; Janke, A

    2002-01-01

    Reasonably correct phylogenies are fundamental to the testing of evolutionary hypotheses. Here, we present phylogenetic findings based on analyses of 67 complete mammalian mitochondrial (mt) genomes. The analyses, irrespective of whether they were performed at the amino acid (aa) level or on nucleotides (nt) of first and second codon positions, placed Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs and their kin) as the sister group of remaining eutherians. Thus, the analyses separated Erinaceomorpha from other traditional lipotyphlans (e.g., tenrecs, moles, and shrews), making traditional Lipotyphla polyphyletic. Both the aa and nt data sets identified the two order-rich eutherian clades, the Cetferungulata (comprising Pholidota, Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Cetacea) and the African clade (Tenrecomorpha, Macroscelidea, Tubulidentata, Hyracoidea, Proboscidea, and Sirenia). The study corroborated recent findings that have identified a sister-group relationship between Anthropoidea and Dermoptera (flying lemurs), thereby making our own order, Primates, a paraphyletic assembly. Molecular estimates using paleontologically well-established calibration points, placed the origin of most eutherian orders in Cretaceous times, 70-100 million years before present (MYBP). The same estimates place all primate divergences much earlier than traditionally believed. For example, the divergence between Homo and Pan is estimated to have taken place approximately 10 MYBP, a dating consistent with recent findings in primate paleontology.

  9. Electrocardiography in two subspecies of manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris and T. m. manatus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siegal-Willott, Jessica; Estrada, Amara; Bonde, Robert; Wong, Arthur; Estrada, Daniel J; Harr, Kendal

    2006-12-01

    Electrocardiographic (ECG) measurements were recorded in two subspecies of awake, apparently healthy, wild manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris and T. m. manatus) undergoing routine field examinations in Florida and Belize. Six unsedated juveniles (dependent and independent calves) and 6 adults were restrained in ventral recumbency for ECG measurements. Six lead ECGs were recorded for all manatees and the following parameters were determined: heart rate and rhythm; P, QRS, and T wave morphology, amplitude, and duration; and mean electrical axis (MEA). Statistical differences using a t-test for equality of means were determined. No statistical difference was seen based on sex or subspecies of manatees in the above measured criteria. Statistical differences existed in heart rate (P = 0.047), P wave duration (P = 0.019), PR interval (P = 0.025), and MEA (P = 0.021) between adult manatees and calves. Our findings revealed normal sinus rhythms, no detectable arrhythmias, prolonged PR and QT intervals, prolonged P wave duration, and small R wave amplitude as compared with cetacea and other marine mammals. This paper documents the techniques for and baseline recordings of ECGs in juvenile and adult free-living manatees. It also demonstrates that continual assessment of cardiac electrical activity in the awake manatee can be completed and can be used to aid veterinarians and biologists in routine health assessment, during procedures, and in detecting the presence of cardiac disease or dysfunction.

  10. Hepatocyte vacuolation and autolytic changes in the liver of pilot whales, Globicephala melas, stranded on Cape Cod, MA, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, M J; Stegeman, J J

    1996-07-16

    Most cetacea available for internal sampling in recent times have died through mass or single stranding events. It is important to know how the time elapsed between death and sampling affect quality of tissues. This study evaluated histological quality in the liver of long-finned pilot whales that either died or were euthanased after mass stranding events. Histological detection of significant autolysis was found in animals when 2 or more hours elapsed between death and sampling. In addition, hepatocytes often had marked idiopathic cytoplasmic vacuolation that did not stain with hematoxylin and eosin. The extent of this vacuolation did not show any correlation with time between death and sampling, but did appear more often in animals of greater total length. These observations suggest that when animals die or are euthanased at a single or mass stranding, every effort should be made to obtain samples as soon as possible, although meaningful histological observations can still be made in the presence of significant autolysis. These data also suggest that a multi-disciplinary study should be conducted to determine whether increasing autolysis is associated with changes in the organic chemical residues, molecular biology, histopathology and microbiology of those tissues. PMID:8685702

  11. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert W Meredith

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory.

  12. Mitogenomic analyses of eutherian relationships.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnason, U; Janke, A

    2002-01-01

    Reasonably correct phylogenies are fundamental to the testing of evolutionary hypotheses. Here, we present phylogenetic findings based on analyses of 67 complete mammalian mitochondrial (mt) genomes. The analyses, irrespective of whether they were performed at the amino acid (aa) level or on nucleotides (nt) of first and second codon positions, placed Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs and their kin) as the sister group of remaining eutherians. Thus, the analyses separated Erinaceomorpha from other traditional lipotyphlans (e.g., tenrecs, moles, and shrews), making traditional Lipotyphla polyphyletic. Both the aa and nt data sets identified the two order-rich eutherian clades, the Cetferungulata (comprising Pholidota, Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Cetacea) and the African clade (Tenrecomorpha, Macroscelidea, Tubulidentata, Hyracoidea, Proboscidea, and Sirenia). The study corroborated recent findings that have identified a sister-group relationship between Anthropoidea and Dermoptera (flying lemurs), thereby making our own order, Primates, a paraphyletic assembly. Molecular estimates using paleontologically well-established calibration points, placed the origin of most eutherian orders in Cretaceous times, 70-100 million years before present (MYBP). The same estimates place all primate divergences much earlier than traditionally believed. For example, the divergence between Homo and Pan is estimated to have taken place approximately 10 MYBP, a dating consistent with recent findings in primate paleontology. PMID:12438776

  13. On the development of Cetacean extremities: I. Hind limb rudimentation in the Spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sedmera, D; Misek, I; Klima, M

    1997-02-01

    The Cetacea are group of animals which have completely lost their hind limbs during the course of evolution as a result of their entirely aquatic mode of life. It is known, however, that during their embryonal period, the hind limb buds are temporarily present. The control mechanisms of this regression are not yet understood, and vestigial limbs can sometimes be found in adults. The aim of the present study is to describe the course of hind limb rudimentation during prenatal development of Stenella attenuata (Spotted dolphin) at tissue and cell levels and compare the results with other natural or experimentally induced amelias. Hind limb buds of dolphin embryos, CRL 10-30 mm, were examined histologically. Before total disappearance, they show histodifferentiation comparable with other mammals. Initially, they form the apical ectodermal ridge, which soon regresses. The mesenchyme undergoes the process of condensation to form anlagens of prospective skeletal elements. These condensations are surrounded by vascular plexuses. During the course of rudimentation, some mesenchymal cells die, while the others are incorporated into the body wall. Nerve ingrowth into rudimentary limb buds was also detected. The temporary presence of hind limb rudiments in cetacean embryos can be regarded as a good example of recapitulation of phylogenesis in ontogenesis. PMID:9143876

  14. On the development of Cetacean extremities: II. Morphogenesis and histogenesis of the flippers in the spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sedmera, D; Misek, I; Klima, M

    1997-04-01

    Externally, the flippers of Cetacea resemble fish fins, but their internal structure is entirely mammalian. They show, however, some adaptative deviations from the typical pattern of the mammalian extremities, the most striking of which is an increased number of phalanges. The aim of this study is to describe the course of the development of flippers in the spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) and compare its features with other similar species from an evolutionary perspective. Early stages of flipper development were studied histologically. Differentiation of cartilaginous anlagens of the skeleton progresses proximodistally, condensation in digital rays being evident sooner than chondrogenesis in the carpal region. In one specimen, the temporary presence of cartilaginous rudiments of two carpal elements, which are not found in adults, was observed. At all examined stages, phalangeal number progressively increases up to (radial to ulnar) 3, 7, 7, 5, 3 in the most advanced stage. The reason for this condition is the specialised function of these limb-like structures. It is a classical example of convergence, in which mammalian extremities change their form to emulate the fin function. A similar condition is found in another group of originally terrestrial animals secondarily fully adapted to the aquatic mode of life-Ichyosauria (Reptilia). PMID:9253589

  15. Complete amino acid sequence of the myoglobin from the Pacific spotted dolphin, Stenella attenuata graffmani.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, B N; Wang, C C; Dwulet, F E; Lehman, L D; Meuth, J L; Bogardt, R A; Gurd, F R

    1979-04-25

    The complete amino acid sequence of the major component myoglobin from the Pacific spotted dolphin, Stenella attenuata graffmani, was determined by the automated Edman degradation of several large peptides obtained by specific cleavage of the protein. The acetimidated apomyoglobin was selectively cleaved at its two methionyl residues with cyanogen bromide and at its three arginyl residues by trypsin. By subjecting four of these peptides and the apomyoglobin to automated Edman degradation, over 80% of the primary structure of the protein was obtained. The remainder of the covalent structure was determined by the sequence analysis of peptides that resulted from further digestion of the central cyanogen bromide fragment. This fragment was cleaved at its glutamyl residues with staphylococcal protease and its lysyl residues with trypsin. The action of trypsin was restricted to the lysyl residues by chemical modification of the single arginyl residue of the fragment with 1,2-cyclohexanedione. The primary structure of this myoglobin proved to be identical with that from the Atlantic bottlenosed dolphin and Pacific common dolphin but differs from the myoglobins of the killer whale and pilot whale at two positions. The above sequence identities and differences reflect the close taxonomic relationship of these five species of Cetacea. PMID:454657

  16. The broad spectrum of Trichinella hosts: from cold- to warm-blooded animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pozio, E

    2005-09-01

    In recent years, studies on Trichinella have shown that the host range is wider than previously believed and new Trichinella species and genotypes have been described. Three classes of vertebrates are known to act as hosts, mammals, birds and reptiles, and infected vertebrates have been detected on all continents but Antarctica. Mammals represent the most important hosts and all Trichinella species are able to develop in this vertebrate class. Natural infections with Trichinella have been described in more than 150 mammalian species belonging to 12 orders (i.e., Marsupialia, Insectivora, Edentata, Chiroptera, Lagomorpha, Rodentia, Cetacea, Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, Tylopoda and Primates). The epidemiology of the infection greatly varies by species relative to characteristics, such as diet, life span, distribution, behaviour, and relationships with humans. The non-encapsulated species Trichinella pseudospiralis, detected in both mammals (14 species) and birds (13 species), shows a cosmopolitan distribution with three distinguishable populations in the Palearctic, Nearctic and Australian regions. Two additional non-encapsulated species, Trichinella papuae, detected in wild pigs and saltwater crocodiles of Papua New Guinea, and Trichinella zimbabwensis, detected in farmed Nile crocodiles of Zimbabwe, can complete their life cycle in both mammals and reptiles. To the best of our knowledge, T. papuae and T. zimbabwensis are the only two parasites known to complete their entire life cycle independently of whether the host is warm-blooded or cold-blooded. This suggests that these two Trichinella species are capable of activating different physiological mechanisms, according to the specific vertebrate class hosting them. PMID:15970384

  17. Divergence date estimation and a comprehensive molecular tree of extant cetaceans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGowen, Michael R; Spaulding, Michelle; Gatesy, John

    2009-12-01

    Cetaceans are remarkable among mammals for their numerous adaptations to an entirely aquatic existence, yet many aspects of their phylogeny remain unresolved. Here we merged 37 new sequences from the nuclear genes RAG1 and PRM1 with most published molecular data for the group (45 nuclear loci, transposons, mitochondrial genomes), and generated a supermatrix consisting of 42,335 characters. The great majority of these data have never been combined. Model-based analyses of the supermatrix produced a solid, consistent phylogenetic hypothesis for 87 cetacean species. Bayesian analyses corroborated odontocete (toothed whale) monophyly, stabilized basal odontocete relationships, and completely resolved branching events within Mysticeti (baleen whales) as well as the problematic speciose clade Delphinidae (oceanic dolphins). Only limited conflicts relative to maximum likelihood results were recorded, and discrepancies found in parsimony trees were very weakly supported. We utilized the Bayesian supermatrix tree to estimate divergence dates among lineages using relaxed-clock methods. Divergence estimates revealed rapid branching of basal odontocete lineages near the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, the antiquity of river dolphin lineages, a Late Miocene radiation of balaenopteroid mysticetes, and a recent rapid radiation of Delphinidae beginning approximately 10 million years ago. Our comprehensive, time-calibrated tree provides a powerful evolutionary tool for broad-scale comparative studies of Cetacea. PMID:19699809

  18. Electrocardiography in two subspecies of manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris and Trichechus manatus manatus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siegal-Willott, J.; Estrada, A.; Bonde, R.K.; Wong, A.; Estrada, D.J.; Harr, K.

    2006-01-01

    Electrocardiographic (ECG) measurements were recorded in two subspecies of awake, apparently healthy, wild manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris and T. m. manatus) undergoing routine field examinations in Florida and Belize. Six unsedated juveniles (dependent and independent calves) and 6 adults were restrained in ventral recumbency for ECG measurements. Six lead ECGs were recorded for all manatees and the following parameters were determined: heart rate and rhythm; P, QRS, and T wave morphology, amplitude, and duration; and mean electrical axis (MEA). Statistical differences using a t-test for equality of means were determined. No statistical difference was seen based on sex or subspecies of manatees in the above measured criteria. Statistical differences existed in heart rate (P = 0.047), P wave duration (P = 0.019), PR interval (P = 0.025), and MEA (P = 0.021) between adult manatees and calves. Our findings revealed normal sinus rhythms, no detectable arrhythmias, prolonged PR and QT intervals, prolonged P wave duration, and small R wave amplitude as compared with cetacea and other marine mammals. This paper documents the techniques for and baseline recordings of ECGs in juvenile and adult free-living manatees. It also demonstrates that continual assessment of cardiac electrical activity in the awake manatee can be completed and can be used to aid veterinarians and biologists in routine health assessment, during procedures, and in detecting the presence of cardiac disease or dysfunction.

  19. Two isoforms of aquaporin 2 responsive to hypertonic stress in the bottlenose dolphin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suzuki, Miwa; Wakui, Hitomi; Itou, Takuya; Segawa, Takao; Inoshima, Yasuo; Maeda, Ken; Kikuchi, Kiyoshi

    2016-04-15

    This study investigated the expression of aquaporin 2 (AQP2) and its newly found alternatively spliced isoform (alternative AQP2) and the functions of these AQP2 isoforms in the cellular hyperosmotic tolerance in the bottlenose dolphin, ITALIC! Tursiops truncatus mRNA sequencing revealed that alternative AQP2 lacks the fourth exon and instead has a longer third exon that includes a part of the original third intron. The portion of the third intron, now part of the coding region of alternative AQP2, is highly conserved among many species of the order Cetacea but not among terrestrial mammals. Semi-quantitative PCR revealed that AQP2 was expressed only in the kidney, similar to terrestrial mammals. In contrast, alternative AQP2 was expressed in all organs examined, with strong expression in the kidney. In cultured renal cells, expression of both AQP2 isoforms was upregulated by the addition to the medium of NaCl but not by the addition of mannitol, indicating that the expression of both isoforms is induced by hypersalinity. Treatment with small interfering RNA for both isoforms resulted in a decrease in cell viability in hypertonic medium (500 mOsm kg(-1)) when compared with controls. These findings indicate that the expression of alternatively spliced AQP2 is ubiquitous in cetacean species, and it may be one of the molecules important for cellular osmotic tolerance throughout the body. PMID:26944501

  20. Fetal and early post-natal mineralization of the tympanic bulla in fin whales may reveal a Hitherto undiscovered evolutionary trait.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cozzi, Bruno; Podestà, Michela; Mazzariol, Sandro; Zotti, Alessandro

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 million years ago [1], and debate is still going on about the relationships between Cetacea and Artiodactyla [2], [3], [4]. Some skeletal traits of the basilosaurids (the more advanced forms of Archaeocetes), such as the expansion of the peribullary air sinuses, dental modification and vertebral size uniformity [5] are maintained and further emphasized also in contemporary odontocetes and mysticetes. Using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry here we report that the deposition of bone mineral in fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus is remarkably higher in the bulla tympanica than in the adjacent basal skull or in the rest of the skeleton. Ossification of the tympanic bulla in fetal Artiodactyla (bovine, hippopotamus) is minimal, becomes sensible after birth and then progresses during growth, contrarily to the precocious mineralization that we observed in fin whales. Given the importance of the ear bones for the precise identification of phylogenetic relationship in therian evolution [6], this feature may indicate a specific evolutionary trait of fin whales and possibly other cetacean species or families. Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal survival.

  1. Evolution of the mammalian dentate gyrus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hevner, Robert F

    2016-02-15

    The dentate gyrus (DG), a part of the hippocampal formation, has important functions in learning, memory, and adult neurogenesis. Compared with homologous areas in sauropsids (birds and reptiles), the mammalian DG is larger and exhibits qualitatively different phenotypes: 1) folded (C- or V-shaped) granule neuron layer, concave toward the hilus and delimited by a hippocampal fissure; 2) nonperiventricular adult neurogenesis; and 3) prolonged ontogeny, involving extensive abventricular (basal) migration and proliferation of neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs). Although gaps remain, available data indicate that these DG traits are present in all orders of mammals, including monotremes and marsupials. The exception is Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), in which DG size, convolution, and adult neurogenesis have undergone evolutionary regression. Parsimony suggests that increased growth and convolution of the DG arose in stem mammals concurrently with nonperiventricular adult hippocampal neurogenesis and basal migration of NSPCs during development. These traits could all result from an evolutionary change that enhanced radial migration of NSPCs out of the periventricular zones, possibly by epithelial-mesenchymal transition, to colonize and maintain nonperiventricular proliferative niches. In turn, increased NSPC migration and clonal expansion might be a consequence of growth in the cortical hem (medial patterning center), which produces morphogens such as Wnt3a, generates Cajal-Retzius neurons, and is regulated by Lhx2. Finally, correlations between DG convolution and neocortical gyrification (or capacity for gyrification) suggest that enhanced abventricular migration and proliferation of NSPCs played a transformative role in growth and folding of neocortex as well as archicortex.

  2. Clicking in shallow rivers: short-range echolocation of Irrawaddy and Ganges River dolphins in a shallow, acoustically complex habitat.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Frants H Jensen

    Full Text Available Toothed whales (Cetacea, odontoceti use biosonar to navigate their environment and to find and catch prey. All studied toothed whale species have evolved highly directional, high-amplitude ultrasonic clicks suited for long-range echolocation of prey in open water. Little is known about the biosonar signals of toothed whale species inhabiting freshwater habitats such as endangered river dolphins. To address the evolutionary pressures shaping the echolocation signal parameters of non-marine toothed whales, we investigated the biosonar source parameters of Ganges river dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica and Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris within the river systems of the Sundarban mangrove forest. Both Ganges and Irrawaddy dolphins produced echolocation clicks with a high repetition rate and low source level compared to marine species. Irrawaddy dolphins, inhabiting coastal and riverine habitats, produced a mean source level of 195 dB (max 203 dB re 1 µPapp whereas Ganges river dolphins, living exclusively upriver, produced a mean source level of 184 dB (max 191 re 1 µPapp. These source levels are 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than those of similar sized marine delphinids and may reflect an adaptation to a shallow, acoustically complex freshwater habitat with high reverberation and acoustic clutter. The centroid frequency of Ganges river dolphin clicks are an octave lower than predicted from scaling, but with an estimated beamwidth comparable to that of porpoises. The unique bony maxillary crests found in the Platanista forehead may help achieve a higher directionality than expected using clicks nearly an octave lower than similar sized odontocetes.

  3. Examining the prey mass of terrestrial and aquatic carnivorous mammals: minimum, maximum and range.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tucker, Marlee A; Rogers, Tracey L

    2014-01-01

    Predator-prey body mass relationships are a vital part of food webs across ecosystems and provide key information for predicting the susceptibility of carnivore populations to extinction. Despite this, there has been limited research on the minimum and maximum prey size of mammalian carnivores. Without information on large-scale patterns of prey mass, we limit our understanding of predation pressure, trophic cascades and susceptibility of carnivores to decreasing prey populations. The majority of studies that examine predator-prey body mass relationships focus on either a single or a subset of mammalian species, which limits the strength of our models as well as their broader application. We examine the relationship between predator body mass and the minimum, maximum and range of their prey's body mass across 108 mammalian carnivores, from weasels to baleen whales (Carnivora and Cetacea). We test whether mammals show a positive relationship between prey and predator body mass, as in reptiles and birds, as well as examine how environment (aquatic and terrestrial) and phylogenetic relatedness play a role in this relationship. We found that phylogenetic relatedness is a strong driver of predator-prey mass patterns in carnivorous mammals and accounts for a higher proportion of variance compared with the biological drivers of body mass and environment. We show a positive predator-prey body mass pattern for terrestrial mammals as found in reptiles and birds, but no relationship for aquatic mammals. Our results will benefit our understanding of trophic interactions, the susceptibility of carnivores to population declines and the role of carnivores within ecosystems. PMID:25162695

  4. Transition of Eocene whales from land to sea: evidence from bone microstructure.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandra Houssaye

    Full Text Available Cetacea are secondarily aquatic amniotes that underwent their land-to-sea transition during the Eocene. Primitive forms, called archaeocetes, include five families with distinct degrees of adaptation to an aquatic life, swimming mode and abilities that remain difficult to estimate. The lifestyle of early cetaceans is investigated by analysis of microanatomical features in postcranial elements of archaeocetes. We document the internal structure of long bones, ribs and vertebrae in fifteen specimens belonging to the three more derived archaeocete families--Remingtonocetidae, Protocetidae, and Basilosauridae--using microtomography and virtual thin-sectioning. This enables us to discuss the osseous specializations observed in these taxa and to comment on their possible swimming behavior. All these taxa display bone mass increase (BMI in their ribs, which lack an open medullary cavity, and in their femora, whereas their vertebrae are essentially spongious. Humeri and femora show opposite trends in microanatomical specialization in the progressive independence of cetaceans from a terrestrial environment. Humeri change from very compact to spongious, which is in accordance with the progressive loss of propulsive role for the forelimbs, which were used instead for steering and stabilizing. Conversely, hind-limbs in basilosaurids became strongly reduced with no involvement in locomotion but display strong osteosclerosis in the femora. Our study confirms that Remingtonocetidae and Protocetidae were almost exclusively aquatic in locomotion for the taxa sampled, which probably were shallow water suspended swimmers. Basilosaurids display osseous specializations similar to those of modern cetaceans and are considered more active open-sea swimmers. This study highlights the strong need for homologous sections in comparative microanatomical studies, and the importance of combining information from several bones of the same taxon for improved functional

  5. Examining the prey mass of terrestrial and aquatic carnivorous mammals: minimum, maximum and range.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marlee A Tucker

    Full Text Available Predator-prey body mass relationships are a vital part of food webs across ecosystems and provide key information for predicting the susceptibility of carnivore populations to extinction. Despite this, there has been limited research on the minimum and maximum prey size of mammalian carnivores. Without information on large-scale patterns of prey mass, we limit our understanding of predation pressure, trophic cascades and susceptibility of carnivores to decreasing prey populations. The majority of studies that examine predator-prey body mass relationships focus on either a single or a subset of mammalian species, which limits the strength of our models as well as their broader application. We examine the relationship between predator body mass and the minimum, maximum and range of their prey's body mass across 108 mammalian carnivores, from weasels to baleen whales (Carnivora and Cetacea. We test whether mammals show a positive relationship between prey and predator body mass, as in reptiles and birds, as well as examine how environment (aquatic and terrestrial and phylogenetic relatedness play a role in this relationship. We found that phylogenetic relatedness is a strong driver of predator-prey mass patterns in carnivorous mammals and accounts for a higher proportion of variance compared with the biological drivers of body mass and environment. We show a positive predator-prey body mass pattern for terrestrial mammals as found in reptiles and birds, but no relationship for aquatic mammals. Our results will benefit our understanding of trophic interactions, the susceptibility of carnivores to population declines and the role of carnivores within ecosystems.

  6. Progress in the evolution and taxonomy of Brucella%布鲁菌进化和分类学研究进展

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    钟志军; 杜昕颖; 彭广能; 黄克和; 陈泽良; 于爽; 徐杰; 王玉飞; 白耀霞; 陈燕芬; 付思美; 王同坤; 汪舟佳

    2011-01-01

    Brucellae are Gram-negative,facultative intracellular bacteria that can infect many species of animals and man.Six species are currently recognized within the genus Brucella:B.melitensis,B.abortus,B.suis,B.neotomae,B.ovis,and B.canis.This classification is mainly based on differences in pathogenicity and in host preferences.Although the six species can be differentiated by conventional phenotypic tests,these species display a high degree of DNA homology in DNA-DNA hybridization assays(90% identity).Therefore it has been proposed that the Brucella genus should comprise only one species i.e.B.melitensis and that the other species should be considered as biovars.However,several molecular genotyping methods have shown of significant DNA polymorphism Brucella species allowing the species to be correctly differentiated.This is also true for the recent marine mammal Brucella isolates,which two new species names have been proposed,i.e.B.pinnipediae and B.cetaceae,according to the classical criteria of host preferentialism(pinnipeds and cetaceans respectively) and specific molecular markers.This article reviews the evolution and taxonomy of Brucella.%布鲁菌属革兰氏阴性兼性胞内寄生菌,能感染多种宿主动物和人。该属可分为6个典型种,包括羊种、牛种、猪种、沙林鼠种、绵羊附睾种以及犬种布鲁菌等。此分类是基于其致病性以及宿主偏好性的差异划分。尽管6个种通过传统表型试验能区分,但布鲁菌种内采用DNA-DNA杂交证明DNA同源性高度一致(相似性大于90%)。因此有人提议布鲁菌由单一种组成,即布鲁菌属中只有羊种布鲁菌,其他种都是羊种菌的生物亚型之一。然而基于其他分子技术的基因分型表明其DNA多态性表现明显,说明目前对这个种的分型还是比较准确。而最近分离的海洋种布鲁氏

  7. An LTR Retrotransposon-Derived Gene Displays Lineage-Specific Structural and Putative Species-Specific Functional Variations in Eutherians.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irie, Masahito; Koga, Akihiko; Kaneko-Ishino, Tomoko; Ishino, Fumitoshi

    2016-01-01

    Amongst the 11 eutherian-specific genes acquired from a sushi-ichi retrotransposon is the CCHC type zinc-finger protein-encoding gene SIRH11/ZCCHC16. Its contribution to eutherian brain evolution is implied because of its involvement in cognitive function in mice, possibly via the noradrenergic system. Although, the possibility that Sirh11/Zcchc16 functions as a non-coding RNA still remains, dN/dS ratios in pairwise comparisons between its orthologs have provided supportive evidence that it acts as a protein. It became a pseudogene in armadillos (Cingulata) and sloths (Pilosa), the only two extant orders of xenarthra, which prompted us to examine the lineage-specific variations of SIRH11/ZCCHC16 in eutherians. We examined the predicted SIRH11/ZCCHC16 open reading frame (ORF) in 95 eutherian species based on the genomic DNA information in GenBank. A large variation in the SIRH11/ZCCHC16 ORF was detected in several lineages. These include a lack of a CCHC RNA-binding domain in its C-terminus, observed in gibbons (Hylobatidae: Primates) and megabats (Megachiroptera: Chiroptera). A lack of the N-terminal half, on the other hand, was observed in New World monkeys (Platyrrhini: Primates) and species belonging to New World and African Hystricognaths (Caviomorpha and Bathyergidae: Rodents) along with Cetacea and Ruminantia (Cetartiodactyla). Among the hominoids, interestingly, three out of four genera of gibbons have lost normal SIRH11/ZCCHC16 function by deletion or the lack of the CCHC RNA-binding domain. Our extensive dN/dS analysis suggests that such truncated SIRH11/ZCCHC16 ORFs are functionally diversified even within lineages. Combined, our results show that SIRH11/ZCCHC16 may contribute to the diversification of eutherians by lineage-specific structural changes after its domestication in the common eutherian ancestor, followed by putative species-specific functional changes that enhanced fitness and occurred as a consequence of complex natural selection events

  8. Biomineralization: Some complex crystallite-oriented skeletal structures

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Ashok Sahni

    2013-12-01

    and with phosphates and silica as important but secondary materials. The preservation of calcareous skeletons in deep time has resulted in providing interesting information: for example, the number of days in the Devonian year has been established on the basis of well-preserved lunar (annual) cycles, and isotope chemistry has led to an elaborate protocol for using O18/O16 stable isotopes for palaeotemperature measurements in the geological past. Stable isotopes of dental apatite have helped to establish ecological shifts (terrestrial to wholly marine) during the evolution of the Cetacea. Biomineralization as a field of specialization is still searching for its own independent identity, but gradually, its importance is being realized as a model for engineering applications especially at the nanometer scale.