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Mammalia - Artiodactyla - Basilosauridae

Basilosauridae was named by Cope (1867). It was considered paraphyletic by Uhen and Gingerich (2001), Uhen (2004) and Uhen (2008) and Martinez-Cáceres and Muizon (2011).

It was synonymized subjectively with Zeuglodontidae by Mchedlidze (1970).

It was assigned to Zeuglodontia by Gill (1871), Gill (1872) and Gill (1873); to Zeuglodonta by Trouessart (1904); to Zeuglodontes by Hay (1902) and Hay (1930); to Cetacea by Sherman (1952) and Thewissen et al. (2001); to Archaeoceti by Bouetel and Muizon (2006); to Archaeoceti by Bianucci and Landini (2007); to Basilosauroidea by Rice (1998), Gingerich (2005), Rice (2009) and Abu El-kheir et al. (2013); to Archaeoceti by Miller (1923), Kellogg (1928), Kellogg (1936), Simpson (1945), Thurmond and Jones (1981), Barnes et al. (1985), Hooker (1986), Carroll (1988), Benton (1993), Fordyce and Barnes (1994), Fordyce et al. (1995), Uhen (1996), Kohler and Fordyce (1997), McKenna and Bell (1997), Bergqvist et al. (1999), Uhen and Gingerich (2001), Fordyce and de Muizon (2001), Rice (2002), Fordyce (2003), Geisler and Sanders (2003), Uhen (2004), Gingerich (2007), McLeod and Barnes (2008), Uhen (2008), Fordyce and Roberts (2009), Fitzgerald (2010), Gingerich (2012), Gingerich and Zouhri (2015), Gingerich (2015) and Gao and Ni (2015); and to Pelagiceti by Uhen (2008), Uhen (2010), Martinez-Cáceres and Muizon (2011), Uhen et al. (2011), Uhen (2013), Goldin et al. (2014), Marx et al. (2016), Buono et al. (2016), Martínez-Cáceres et al. (2017) and Berta (2017).

Synonymy list
YearName and author
1849Zeuglodontidae Bonaparte p. 618
1849Zeuglodon brachyspondylus Müller pp. pp. 20-33
1850Hydrarchidae Bonaparte p. 1
1850Hydrarchina Bonaparte p. 1
1851Zeuglodon trachyspondylus Koch p. 57
1852Pontogeneus Leidy
1852Pontogeneus priscus Leidy p. 52
1853Zeuglodontae Bronn p. 763
1853Zeuglodon brachyspondylus Bronn p. 770
1854Pontogeneus priscus Leidy p. 8
1867Basilosauridae Cope
1871Basilosauridae Gill p. 122
1872Basilosauridae Gill p. 93
1873Stegorhinidae Brandt p. 334
1873Basilosauridae Gill p. 27
1876Zeuglodon wanklyni Seeley
1881Balaenoptera juddi Seeley p. 278
1887Balaenoptera juddi Lydekker p. 41
1887Zeuglodontidae Lydekker p. 49
1889Zeuglodontidae Cope p. 876
1890Zeuglodontidae Cope p. 601
1890Zeuglodon brachyspondylus Cope p. 602
1890Zeuglodontidae Thompson p. 1
1891Zeuglodontidae Flower and Lydekker p. 89
1894Zeuglodontidae Zittel p. 167
1894Zeuglodon wanklyni Zittel p. 168
1898Zeuglodontidae Trouessart p. 1009
1898Zeuglodon brachyspondylus Trouessart p. 1010
1898Zeuglodon wanklyni Trouessart p. 1010
1898Balaenoptera juddi Trouessart p. 1077
1899Berardiopsis miocaenus Koch p. 209 figs. Fig. 1-2
1902Basilosauridae Hay p. 586
1902Basilosaurus brachyspondylus Hay p. 586
1903Zeuglodon wanklyni Stromer p. 87
1904Zeuglodontidae Case p. 4
1904Pontogeneus Palmer p. 558
1904Basilosauridae Trouessart p. 753
1904Basilosaurus brachyspondylus Trouessart p. 753
1904Basilosaurus wanklyni Trouessart p. 753
1904Balaenoptera juddi Trouessart p. 782
1906Zeuglodontidae Andrews p. 234
1908Zeuglodon brachyspondylus Stromer p. 31
1908Zeuglodontidae Stromer p. 148
1914Zeuglodon wanklyni Abel p. 220
1914Zeuglodontidae Abel p. 220
1919Zeuglodontidae Abel p. 751
1923Dorudontidae Miller
1923Basilosauridae Miller p. 40
1923Dorudontidae Miller p. 40
1925Zeuglodontidae Zittel p. 84
1925Zeuglodon brachyspondylus Zittel p. 85
1925Zeuglodon wanklyni Zittel p. 85
1928Basilosauridae Kellogg p. 32 figs. Table 1
1928Dorudontidae Kellogg p. 32 figs. Table 1
1930Basilosauridae Hay p. 569
1930Basilosaurus brachyspondylus Hay p. 570
1930Dorudontidae Hay p. 657
1931Zeuglodontidae Van Deinse p. 33
1936Zygorhiza juddi Kellogg
1936Basilosauridae Kellogg p. 13
1936Dorudontidae Kellogg p. 100
1936Pontogeneus brachyspondylus Kellogg p. 101
1936Zygorhiza wanklyni Kellogg p. 176
1936Pontogeneus Kellogg p. 248
1936Dorudontinae Slijper p. 540
1936Zeuglodontidae Slijper p. 540
1937Zeuglodontidae Benham p. 1
1945Basilosauridae Simpson p. 100
1945Dorudontidae Simpson p. 100
1952Basilosauridae Sherman p. 99
1952Basilosaurus brachyspondylus Sherman p. 99
1954Prozeuglodontidae Moustafa p. 87
1970Zeuglodontidae Mchedlidze p. 50
1973Dorudontidae Keyes p. 389
1977Dorudontidae Whitmore and Sanders p. 305
1981Dorudontidae Thurmond and Jones p. 192
1981Basilosauridae Thurmond and Jones p. 193
1981Pontogeneus Thurmond and Jones p. 196
1981Pontogeneus brachyspondylus Thurmond and Jones p. 196
1982Dorudontinae Fordyce p. 422
1985Basilosauridae Barnes et al. p. 25
1985Dorudontinae Barnes et al. p. 25
1986Basilosauridae Hooker p. 214
1986Dorudontidae Hooker p. 214
1986Zygorhiza wanklyni Hooker p. 342
1988Basilosauridae Carroll
1988Pontogeneus Carroll
1993Basilosauridae Benton p. 761
1994Basilosauridae Fordyce and Barnes p. 428 figs. Table 1
1994Dorudontinae Fordyce and Barnes p. 428
1995Basilosauridae Fordyce et al. p. 379
1995Dorudontinae Fordyce et al. p. 379
1996Basilosauridae Uhen p. 39
1996Dorudontinae Uhen p. 41
1997Basilosauridae Kohler and Fordyce p. 575
1997Dorudontinae Kohler and Fordyce p. 575
1997Basilosauridae McKenna and Bell p. 369
1997Dorudontidae McKenna and Bell p. 369
1997Pontogeneus McKenna and Bell p. 369
1998Basilosauridae Rice
1998Dorudontidae Rice
1998Dorudontinae Uhen p. 34
1998Pontogeneus Uhen p. 37
1998Pontogeneus brachyspondylus Uhen p. 37
1999Basilosauridae Bergqvist et al. p. 31
2001Dorudontidae Fordyce and de Muizon p. 104
2001Basilosauridae Fordyce and de Muizon p. 176
2001Basilosauridae Thewissen et al. p. 351 figs. Table 1
2001Basilosauridae Uhen and Gingerich p. 2
2001Dorudontinae Uhen and Gingerich p. 2
2002Basilosauridae Rice p. 231 figs. Table 1
2002Dorudontidae Rice p. 231 figs. Table 1
2002Pontogeneus Sepkoski, Jr.
2002Dorudontinae Uhen p. 79
2002Pontogeneus Uhen p. 79
2002Pontogeneus brachyspondylus Uhen p. 79
2003Basilosauridae Fordyce p. 156 figs. Figure 9.1
2003Basilosauridae Geisler and Sanders p. 27
2004Basilosauridae Uhen pp. 11-12
2004Dorudontinae Uhen p. 12
2004Pontogeneus Uhen p. 12
2004Pontogeneus brachyspondylus Uhen p. 12
2005Basilosauridae Gingerich p. 237 figs. Table 15.1
2006Basilosauridae Bouetel and Muizon p. 383
2006Dorudontinae Bouetel and Muizon p. 383
2007Basilosauridae Bianucci and Landini p. 45 figs. Table 2.1
2007Dorudontinae Bianucci and Landini p. 45 figs. Table 2.1
2007Basilosauridae Gingerich p. 366
2008Basilosauridae McLeod and Barnes p. 93
2008Dorudontinae McLeod and Barnes p. 93
2008Zygorhiza juddi McLeod and Barnes p. 93
2008Zygorhiza wanklyni McLeod and Barnes p. 93
2008Pontogeneus McLeod and Barnes p. 94
2008Pontogeneus brachyspondylus McLeod and Barnes p. 94
2008Basilosauridae Uhen p. 561
2008Dorudontinae Uhen p. 561
2008Basilosauridae Uhen p. 592 figs. Figure 4
2009Basilosauridae Fordyce and Roberts p. 553
2009Dorudontinae Fordyce and Roberts p. 553
2009Basilosauridae Rice p. 235 figs. Table 1
2009Dorudontinae Uhen p. 93
2010Basilosauridae Fitzgerald p. 370 figs. Table 1
2010Basilosauridae Uhen p. 206
2011Basilosauridae Martinez-Cáceres and Muizon
2011Pontogeneus Schouten p. 18
2011Pontogeneus brachyspondylus Schouten p. 18
2011Dorudontinae Uhen et al. p. 960
2011Basilosauridae Uhen et al. p. 966 figs. Figure 10
2012Basilosauridae Gingerich p. 313 figs. Figure 4
2012Basilosaurus wanklyni Kalmykov p. 179
2013Basilosauridae Abu El-kheir et al. p. 462
2013Basilosauridae Uhen
2014Pontogeneus Cooper et al. p. 91
2014Basilosauridae Goldin et al.
2015Basilosauridae Gao and Ni p. 156 figs. Table 1
2015Dorudontinae Gao and Ni p. 156 figs. Table 1
2015Basilosauridae Gingerich p. 164
2015Pontogeneus Gingerich p. 184
2015Pontogeneus brachyspondylus Gingerich p. 184
2015Pontogeneus priscus Gingerich p. 184
2015Basilosauridae Gingerich and Zouhri p. 278
2016Basilosauridae Buono et al. p. 299
2016Basilosauridae Marx et al. p. 101
2017Basilosauridae Berta p. 159
2017Pontogeneus Berta p. 159
2017Basilosauridae Martínez-Cáceres et al. p. 11

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phylumChordataHaeckel 1847
OlfactoresJefferies 1991
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.

M. D. Uhen 2004Members of the Basilosauridae lack M3 and sacral vertebrae.. Basilosaurids have accessory denticles on their adult premolars and molars and have a very reduced hindlimb. Members of the other families of archaeocetes, Protocetidae, Remingtonocetidae, and Ambulocetidae retain M3, have sacral vertebrae, and have large hind limbs. They also lack accessory denticles on their adult cheek teeth.
M. D. Uhen 2008Basilosauridae are distinguished from all other archaeocetes by: the loss of M3, the presence of multiple accessory denticles on the cheek teeth, loss of the sacrum, reduction of the hind limb, and rotation of the pelvis (Uhen, 1998a).
M. D. Uhen 2013Members of the family Basilo- sauridae possess two upper molars rather than the three typical of other archaeocetes, as well as multiple acces- sory denticles on their cheek teeth. Most basilosaurids also have longer bodies than other archaeocetes due to an increased numbers of thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. The thoracic vertebral count is 16 in Basilosaurus (Bebej et al., 2012), 20 in Cynthiacetus (Martínez-Cáceres and de Muizon, 2011), 17 in Dorudon (Uhen, 2004) and Zygorhiza (pers. obs. contra (Kellogg, 1936)). The complete thorac- ic count is unknown for Ancalecetus (probably 17, see Gin- gerich and Uhen, 1996 for discussion), Chrysocetus (at least 13), Masracetus, Ocucajea, Saghacetus (at least 15, pers. obs.). The thoracic vertebral count for Stromerius and Supayace- tus are unknown. The exception to this generalization is Basilotritus wardii, which has a thoracic vertebral count of 12 (Uhen, 2001), more similar to the thoracic count of protocetids than other basilosaurids (Uhen et al., 2011).
The lumbar vertebral count is 16 in Cynthiacetus (Martínez-Cáceres and de Muizon, 2011), 20 in Basilosau- rus (Gingerich et al., 1990) and Dorudon, (Uhen, 2004). The lumbar vertebral count is unknown for Basilotritus (Gol’din and Zvonok, 2013). All basilosaurids also have forelimbs modified into flippers. These forelimbs include: a fan shaped scapular blade; robust humerus, radius and ulna; elbow joints with limited rotation (which exclude the ability to pronate and supinate the forearm); and car- pal joints which also limit a wide range of motion. In basi- losaurids for which they are known (Basilosaurus (Lucas, 1900; Gingerich et al., 1990), Chrysocetus (Uhen and Gin- gerich, 2001), and Dorudon (Uhen, 2004)), the hindlimbs are greatly reduced and do not retain a bony connection to the vertebral column. The innominate of Basilotritus is not as reduced as those of other basilosaurids (see Uhen, 1999). See Uhen (1998, 2009) for thorough discussions of basilosaurid characteristics.
M. Martínez-Cáceres et al. 2017Basilosaurids are medium-to-large sized archaeocetes characterized principally by: 1) a at palate narrowing at the level of P4; 2) absence of M3; 3) anterior edge of the orbit dorsal to the level of P4 or P4/M1 diastema; 4) anterior process of the periotic strongly elliptical in cross-section; 5) triangular expan- sion on the posterolateral corner of the pars cochlearis; and 6) well developed ventrolateral tuberosity of the periotic.