A new specimen of Agorophius pygmaeus (Agorophiidae, Odontoceti, Cetacea) from the Early Oligocene Ashley Formation of South Carolina, USA

Journal of Paleontology
By: , and 

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Abstract

The holotype partial skull of Agorophius pygmaeus (the monotypic form for both the genus Agorophius and the Family Agorophiidae) has been missing for approximately 140 years. Since the discovery of Agorophius pygmaeus, many additional taxa and specimens have been placed in the Family Agorophiidae, only to be reclassified and removed later. This has created confusion as to what is and what is not an agorophiid and a lack of clarity as to what characteristics delimit the Agorophiidae. A newly discovered skull of an agorophiid recently collected from an underwater cliff face of the Ashley River, South Carolina, USA, is assigned to Agorophius pygmaeus. It derives from the base of the Ashley Formation (early Oligocene). The new specimen consists of most of the skull and periotics, which are well preserved and described for the first time in an agorophiid. The new specimen provides an opportunity to diagnose the Agorophiidae and place the genus and species within the phylogenetic context of the early odontocete radiation in the Oligocene, along with other taxa such as the Ashleycetidae, Mirocetidae, Patriocetidae, Simocetidae, Waipatiidae, and Xenorophidae. Based on this new understanding, Agorophiidae are known with certainty only from the early Oligocene of South Carolina, with other undescribed, potential agorophiid specimens from the Oligocene of the North Pacific region (Japan, Mexico, and Washington State).

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A new specimen of Agorophius pygmaeus (Agorophiidae, Odontoceti, Cetacea) from the Early Oligocene Ashley Formation of South Carolina, USA
Series title Journal of Paleontology
DOI 10.1017/jpa.2016.4
Volume 90
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists
Publisher location Tulsa, OK
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 154
Last page 169
Country United States
State South Carolina
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N