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the real first

This was the first of these teeth that I found back in the summer. See linked post for more details... It is a premolar of a protocetid archaeocete whale from the Eocene Shark River Formation of NJ. Protocetids are the oldest group to include the first fully marine cetaceans as well as the first group to leave India and the ancient Tethys Sea; sort of a missing link group which bridges the gap between the oldest amphibious whales and fully aquatic modern ones. These specimens look very similar to teeth of Georgiacetus vogtlensis which is currently the oldest whale skeleton in the US. Georgiacetus had functional, but detached, hip and hind limb elements, so it could probably not bear its own weight on land very well. At most it might have been able to drag its body on land, possibly to give birth according to Richard Hulbert of the FLMNH. Confirmation is pending on the age of the Squankum Member of the Shark River Formation, but I suspect it is Lutetian, which would be interesting.
Age Eocene Epoch
Category Marine Mammal
Formation Shark River Formation
Location Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA
Species Unidentified - Whale
Length 1 3/4 inches

ID2467
Membertoothpuller
Date Added11/20/2007

  

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