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Balaenopteridae (rorqual)

Mammalia - Artiodactyla - Balaenopteridae

Balaenopteridae was named by Gray (1864). It is extant.

It was assigned to Balaenoidea by Flower (1865); to Mysticete by Gray (1866), Gill (1871) and Gill (1872); to Mysticete by Gray (1864) and Gill (1873); to Balaenoidorum by Brandt (1874); to Balaenoidae by Hay (1930); to Mystacoceti by Flower (1867), Flores (1895), Weber (1904), Turner (1912), Abel (1914), Abel (1919), Zittel (1925), Weber (1928), Van Deinse (1931) and Riabinin (1934); to Cetacea by Nowak (1991); to Mysticeti by Miller (1923), Kellogg (1928), Dal Piaz (1929), Simpson (1945), Ellerman and Morrisson-Scott (1951), Fraser and Purves (1960), Scheffer and Rice (1963), Baird and Horner (1979), Whitmore (1984), Barnes et al. (1985), Deméré (1986), Carroll (1988), Vidal (1991), Benton (1993), Fordyce and Barnes (1994), Fordyce et al. (1995), McKenna and Bell (1997), Bergqvist et al. (1999), Clapham and Mead (1999), Fordyce and de Muizon (2001), Rice (2002), Fordyce (2003), Mead and Brownell (2005), Bisconti (2007), Whitmore and Kaltenbach (2008), Uhen et al. (2008) and Fordyce and Roberts (2009); to Mysticeti by Bouetel and Muizon (2006) and Bosselaers and Post (2010); to Chaeomysticeti by Rice (1998) and Boessenecker and Fordyce (2015); to Balaenopteroidea by Gray (1868), Mitchell (1989), Sanders and Barnes (2002), Geisler and Sanders (2003), Gingerich (2005), Bianucci and Landini (2007), Steeman (2007), Rice (2009), Steeman (2010), Geisler et al. (2011), Ekdale et al. (2011), Bisconti (2014), Bisconti and Bosselaers (2016) and Marx et al. (2016); to Balaenopteroidea by Marx and Kohno (2016) and Berta (2017); to Mysticeti by Agnarsson and May-Collado (2008), Canto et al. (2010) and Tanaka and Watanabe (2019); and to Thalassotherii by Bisconti et al. (2013) and Bisconti et al. (2019).

View classification of included taxa

Synonymy list
YearName and author
1843Balaena gibbosa Owen p. 283
1843Balaena affinis Owen p. 285 figs. unnumbered text figure
1843Balaena definata Owen p. 285
1843Balaena emarginata Owen p. 286
1844Balaena definata Owen
1859Plesiocetus garopii Van Beneden
1864Balaenopteridae Gray
1865Balaenopteridae Flower p. 391
1865Palaeocetidae Seeley p. 57
1866Balaenopteridae Gray p. 61
1867Balaenopteridae Flower p. 115
1868Balaenopteridae Gray p. 3
1869Hadrosaurus tripos Cope p. 192
1870Hadrosaurus tripos Cope
1870Hadrosaurus tripos Leidy p. 68
1871Hadrosaurus tripos Cope pp. 50-51
1871Balaenopteridae Gill p. 124
1872Balaenopteridae Gill p. 97
1872Megapteropsis robusta Van Beneden p. 15
1872Plesiocetus garopii Van Beneden p. 415
1873Delphinus brachyspondylus Brandt p. 258
1873Balaenopteridae Gill p. 27
1874Balaenopteridae Brandt p. I
1874Balaenodon emarginatus Brandt p. 11
1874Macrochirifer vindobonensis Brandt p. 27
1874Megapteropsis robusta Vanden Broeck p. 198
1875Hadrosaurus tripos Cope p. 40
1878Hadrosaurus tripos Cope p. 129
1880Balaenoptera rostratella Van Beneden
1880Balaenoptera sibbaldina Van Beneden p. 14
1880Balaenoptera borealina Van Beneden pp. 15-16
1880Balaenoptera musculoides Van Beneden p. 15
1880Balaenoptera rostratella Van Beneden p. 16
1880Megaptera affinis Van Beneden p. 3913
1882Megaptera affinis Van Beneden p. 39 figs. Plates 40 & 48
1882Balaenoptera sibbaldina Van Beneden p. 63
1882Balaenoptera musculoides Van Beneden p. 65
1882Balaenoptera borealina Van Beneden p. 71
1887Balaenoptera definita Lydekker p. 11 figs. Plate 2, Fig. 3a
1887Balaenoptera rostratella Lydekker p. 12
1887Balaena affinis Lydekker p. 16
1887Balaenoptera definata Lydekker p. 34
1887Balaenoptera goropi Lydekker p. 36
1887Balaenoptera borealina Lydekker p. 39
1887Balaenoptera emarginata Lydekker p. 40
1890Balaenoptera cortesii portisii Sacco p. 8
1891Balaena affinis Newton p. 58
1891Megaptera affinis Newton p. 60
1891Balaenoptera definita Newton p. 61
1891Balaenoptera (Plesiocetus) goropi Newton p. 62
1891Balaenoptera borealina Newton p. 62
1891Balaenoptera emarginata Newton p. 62
1894Macrochirifer brachyspondylus Zittel p. 173
1895Balaenopteridae Flores p. 13
1895Plesiocetus goropii Flores p. 13
1895Balaenoptera musculoides Flores p. 14
1898Macrochirifer vindobonensis Trouessart p. 1021
1898Plesiocetus garopii Trouessart p. 1073
1898Balaenoptera emarginata Trouessart p. 1077
1898Balaenoptera musculoides Trouessart p. 1080
1898Balaenoptera definita Trouessart p. 1082
1898Megaptera affinis Trouessart p. 1084
1898Megaptera robusta Trouessart p. 1084
1898Balaena affinis Trouessart p. 1092
1900Hadrosaurus tripos Nopcsa p. 557
1901Megapteropsis robusta Abel p. 42
1902Trachodon tripos Hay p. 504
1902Balaena affinis Hay p. 601
1904Balaena affinis Case p. 55
1904Macrochirifer vindobonensis Trouessart p. 760
1904Balaenoptera emarginata Trouessart p. 782
1904Balaenoptera emarginata rostratella Trouessart p. 782
1904Balaenoptera goropii Trouessart p. 782
1904Balaenoptera definata Trouessart p. 784
1904Balaenoptera definata sibbaldina Trouessart p. 784
1904Balaenoptera musculoides Trouessart p. 784
1904Megaptera affinis Trouessart p. 785
1904Balaena affinis Trouessart p. 787
1904Balaenopteridae Weber p. 575
1912Balaenopteridae Turner p. 31
1914Balaenopteridae Abel p. 221
1919Balaenopteridae Abel p. 753
1923Balaenopteridae Miller p. 40
1925Balaenopteridae Zittel p. 87
1927Trachodon tripos Huene p. 264
1928Balaenopteridae Kellogg p. 35 figs. Table 1
1928Balaenopteridae Weber p. 389
1929Balaenopteridae Dal Piaz p. 86
1930Balaenopteridae Hay p. 573
1930Balaena affinis Hay p. 578
1931Plesiocetus garopii Kellogg p. 312
1931Balaenopteridae Van Deinse p. 33
1934Balaenopteridae Riabinin p. 4
1935Balaenoptera musculoides Van Deinse p. 298
1937Mesocetus brachyspondylus Pia p. 396
1945Balaenopteridae Simpson p. 105
1950Trachodon tripos Richards p. 7
1951Balaenopteridae Ellerman and Morrisson-Scott p. 714
1960Balaenopteridae Fraser and Purves p. 112 figs. Figure 26
1963Balaenopteridae Scheffer and Rice p. 9
1964Hadrosaurus tripos Kuhn p. 20
1966Balaenoptera taiwanica Huang
1979Balaenopteridae Baird and Horner p. 19
1984Balaenopteridae Whitmore p. 230
1985Balaenopteridae Barnes et al. p. 26
1986Balaenopteridae Deméré p. 280
1986Balaenoptera borealina Deméré p. 290
1986Balaenoptera garopii Deméré p. 290
1986Balaenoptera rostratella Deméré p. 290
1988Balaenopteridae Carroll
1989Balaenopteridae Mitchell p. 2232
1991Balaenopteridae Nowak
1991Balaenopteridae Vidal p. 6
1993Balaenopteridae Benton p. 762
1993Balaena affinis McLeod et al. p. 55
1994Balaenopteridae Fordyce and Barnes p. 428 figs. Table 1
1995Balaenopteridae Fordyce et al. p. 379
1997Balaenopteridae McKenna and Bell p. 377
1998Balaenopteridae Rice
1999Balaenopteridae Bergqvist et al. p. 31
1999Balaenopteridae Clapham and Mead p. 1
2001Balaenopteridae Fordyce and de Muizon p. 176
2002Balaenopteridae Rice p. 231 figs. Table 1
2002Balaenopteridae Sanders and Barnes p. 353
2003Balaenopteridae Fordyce p. 156 figs. Figure 9.1
2003Balaenopteridae Geisler and Sanders p. 27
2005Balaenoptera borealina Deméré et al. p. 105 figs. Table II
2005Balaenoptera rostratella Deméré et al. p. 105 figs. Table II
2005Balaenoptera sibbaldina Deméré et al. p. 105 figs. Table II
2005Megapteropsis robusta Deméré et al. p. 105 figs. Table II
2005Plesiocetus garopii Deméré et al. p. 105 figs. Table II
2005Balaenopteridae Gingerich p. 237 figs. Table 15.1
2005Balaenopteridae Mead and Brownell p. 724
2006Balaenopteridae Bouetel and Muizon p. 386
2007Balaenopteridae Bianucci and Landini p. 45 figs. Table 2.1
2007Balaenopteridae Bisconti p. 89
2007Balaenopteridae Steeman p. 880
2008Balaenopteridae Agnarsson and May-Collado p. 981 figs. FIg. 4.3
2008Balaenoptera borealina Uhen et al. p. 619
2008Balaenopteridae Uhen et al. p. 619
2008Plesiocetus garopii Uhen et al. p. 620
2008Balaenopteridae Whitmore and Kaltenbach p. 243
2008Balaenoptera borealina Whitmore and Kaltenbach p. 244
2009Balaenopteridae Fordyce and Roberts p. 553
2009Balaenopteridae Rice p. 235 figs. Table 1
2010Balaenopteridae Bosselaers and Post p. 335
2010Balaenopteridae Canto et al. p. 21
2010Balaenoptera definata Gutierrez et al. p. 37
2010Balaenopteridae Steeman p. 69
2010Plesiocetus garopii Steeman p. 69
2011Balaenopteridae Ekdale et al. p. 39
2011Balaenopteridae Geisler et al. pp. 6, 28 figs. Table 1
2013Balaenopteridae Bisconti et al. p. 98
2014Balaenopteridae Bisconti
2015Balaenopteridae Boessenecker and Fordyce figs. Table 1
2016Balaenopteridae Bisconti and Bosselaers p. 451
2016Balaenopteridae Marx and Kohno p. 25 figs. Figure 16
2016Balaenopteridae Marx et al. p. 113
2017Balaenopteridae Berta p. 168
2019Balaenopteridae Bisconti et al. p. 7
2019Balaenopteridae Tanaka and Watanabe

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phylumChordataHaeckel 1847
subclassDipnotetrapodomorpha(Nelson 2006)

If no rank is listed, the taxon is considered an unranked clade in modern classifications. Ranks may be repeated or presented in the wrong order because authors working on different parts of the classification may disagree about how to rank taxa.

Y. Tanaka and M. Watanabe 2019Two synapomorphies of the Balaenopteridae were identified by the phylogenetic analysis in this study:
an abruptly depressed supraorbital process of the frontal to a level noticeably below the vertex with the lateral skull wall above the supraorbital formed by both parietal and frontal in anterior view (character 45); and shape of anteroventral angle of anterior process of periotic in med- ial or lateral view, slender and tapering to a point (char- acter 147). The holotype of Miobalaenoptera numataensis only preserves the periotic character 147. Three periotic diagnostic characters have previously been reported: a narrow triangular anterior process of the peri- otic (Character 20 of Ekdale et al. 2011; Bisconti 2010b); well-defined fossa for the malleus (Ekdale et al. 2011, character 43) and transversely elongated pars cochlearis (Geisler & Luo 1996, character 12). These characters were stated as the Family Balaenopteridae excluding Eschrichtius robustus in these studies.
No measurements are available
Composition: hydroxyapatitesubo
Form: roller-shapedo
Ontogeny: modification of partso
Environment: marinesubo
Locomotion: actively mobileo
Life habit: aquaticsubo
Depth habitat: surfaceo
Diet: suspension feederf
Reproduction: viviparouso
Created: 2005-06-08 10:11:09
Modified: 2005-06-08 12:11:09
Source: f = family, subo = suborder, o = order
References: Nowak 1991, Uhen 2004

Age range

Maximum range based only on fossils: base of the Burdigalian to the top of the Holocene or 20.44000 to 0.00000 Ma
Minimum age of oldest fossil (stem group age): 15.97 Ma

Collections (295 total)

Oldest occurrences

Time interval Ma Country or state Original ID and collection number
Late/Upper Oligocene - Early/Lower Miocene28.4 - 15.97New Zealand (North Otago) Balaenopteridae indet. (87888)
Aquitanian - Burdigalian23.03 - 15.97Argentina (Chubut) Plesiocetus dyticus (47303)
Early/Lower Miocene23.03 - 15.97Chile Plesiocetus sp. (46980)
Early/Lower Miocene - Late/Upper Miocene23.03 - 5.333Italy Plesiocetus sp. (59281)
Miocene23.03 - 5.333Austria (Burgenland) Balaenopteridae indet. (85507)
Miocene23.03 - 5.333Denmark Plesiocetus sp. (57137)
Miocene23.03 - 5.333France Plesiocetus gervaisii (85152)
Miocene23.03 - 5.333New Zealand Balaenopteridae indet. (74754)
Miocene23.03 - 5.333Austria Balaenopteridae indet. (85510)
Miocene - Pliocene23.03 - 2.588Australia (South Australia) Balaenopteridae indet. (51410)
Miocene - Pliocene23.03 - 2.588South Africa Balaenopteridae indet. (22220) Plesiobalaenoptera sp. (22223)
Neogene23.03 - 2.588South Pacific Balaenoptera antarctica, Balaenoptera rostrata (99587) Balaenoptera sp. (99586 99611)
Neogene23.03 - 2.588Austria Balaenopteridae indet. (85509)
Burdigalian20.44 - 15.97France Plesiocetus dubius (57732)
Burdigalian20.44 - 15.97Netherlands (Gelderland) Balaenoptera musculoides (32040)
Langhian15.97 - 13.82USA (Maryland) Eschrichtius cephalus (55396)
Langhian15.97 - 13.82Austria Macrochirifer vindobonensis, Delphinus brachyspondylus (48029)
Langhian15.97 - 13.82USA (Virginia) Eobalaenoptera harrisoni (57700)
Langhian - Serravallian15.97 - 11.62Belgium Cetotherium dubium, Plesiocetus brialmonti (59123)
Langhian - Serravallian15.97 - 11.62Slovenia Balaenoptera sp. (55450)