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Cynthiacetus spp.
Cynthiacetus spp.

[Image: 640px-Museum_of_Natural_History_Cynthiacetus.jpg]

Temporal range: Late Eocene ~37.2–33.9 Ma 

Scientific classification
Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Chordata
Class:  Mammalia
Order:  Artiodactyla
Infraorder:  Cetacea
Family:  †Basilosauridae
Subfamily:  †Dorudontinae
Genus:  †Cynthiacetus  Uhen 2005
  • C. maxwelli (type) Uhen 2005
  • C. peruvianus Martínez-Cáceres & Muizon 2011
Cynthiacetus is an extinct genus of basilosaurid early whale that lived during the Late Eocene (Bartonian-Priabonian, 40.4 to 33.9 million years ago.) Specimens have been found in the southeastern United States and Peru (Otuma Formation).

The skull of Cynthiacetus was similar in size and morphology to that of Basilosaurus, but Cynthiacetus lacked the elongated vertebrae of Basilosaurus. Uhen 2005 erected the genus to avoid the nomen dubium Pontogeneus (which was based on poorly described and now vanished specimens). Cynthiacetus was smaller than Masracetus.
The South American species C. peruvianus, the first archaeocete to be described on that continent, mainly differs from C. maxwelli in the number of cuspids in the lower premolars, but it also has the greatest numbers of thoracic vertebrae (20).

More info:

[Image: cynthiacetus-size.jpg]
Name: Cynthiacetus.
Phonetic: Sin-fee-ah-see-tus.
Named By: M.‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Uhen‭ ‬-‭ ‬2005.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Cetacea,‭ ‬Archaeoceti,‭ ‬Basilosauridae.
Species: C.‭ ‬maxwelli‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬peruvianus.
Diet: Carnivore/Piscivore.
Size: ‭Roughly about 8.5 meters long.
Known locations: Egypt,‭ ‬Peru‭ ‬-‭ ‬Otuma Formation,‭ ‬USA.
Time period: Priarbonian of the Eocene.
Fossil representation: Several individuals,‭ ‬some from almost complete skull and post cranial skeletal remains.
       Cynthiacetus was very similar to the famous Basilosaurus,‭ ‬one of the largest and most famous of the primitive archaeocetid whales.‭ ‬In fact the skull of Cynthiacetus is very similar to the skull of Basilosaurus in both size and form,‭ ‬but Cynthiacetus is known to be different by the simple observation that the vertebrae in the spine are not elongated as they were in Basilosaurus.‭ ‬This indicates that while Cynthiacetus had a similar head size and body width,‭ ‬the actual physical length of the body would be significantly less than that of Basilosaurus. In a 2007 paper by P. D. Gingerich, Cynthiacetus was stated as having similar body proportions as Dorudon. Therefore figuring the skull size to body ratio of Dorudon and scalong it to accomadate the size of a Cynthiacetus skull results in a estimated total length of Cynthiacetus of about eight and a half meters.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A new genus and species of archaeocete whale from Mississippi.‭ ‬Southeastern Geology‭ ‬43‭(‬3‭)‬:157-172.‭ ‬-‭ ‬M.‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Uhen‭ ‬-‭ ‬2005.
-‭ ‬A new basilosaurid‭ (‬Cetacea,‭ ‬Pelagiceti‭) ‬from the Late Eocene to Early Oligocene Otuma Formation of Peru.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Comptes Rendus Palevol‭ ‬10:517-526.‭ ‬-‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Martinez-Caceres and C.‭ ‬Muizon‭ ‬-‭ ‬2011.
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