Preliminary report on a late Tortonian/Messinian balaenopterid cetacean (Mammalia, Mysticeti) from Sistan and Baluchestan Province (Iran)

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung

2 Department of Geology, Islamic Azad University,Isfahan (Khorasgan) branch,Isfahan,Iran

3 Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran

4 Department of Environment, National Museum of Natural History (MMTT), Tehran,Iran

Abstract

In this study we present the first description of a mysticete skeleton from the late Tortonian to Messinian greyish-green marl of the Coastal Makran, south of Negour in Chahbahar County, Sistan and Baluchestan Province. This specimen is neither completely excavated, nor completely prepared, and therefore all our findings are preliminary. The identifiable components of this fossil thus far consist of an excellently preserved cranium, both dentaries which are partially obscured by the cranium and matrix, a partial vertebral column with a minimum of 15 vertebrae, and one flipper element. Preliminary evaluation of the cranium reveals some morphological similarities with that of the living blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus but also with “Megaptera” miocaena from the Tortonian of California (former E Pacific) of which the taxonomic status is still unclear. The new fossil specimen has both modern and ancient rorqual characteristics, making the proper documentation of its anatomy of particular evolutionary importance.

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Article Title [Persian]

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