Paleontological Journal

, Volume 52, Issue 12, pp 1440–1444 | Cite as

Morphology of the Petrosal in Late Miocene Baleen Whales of Northwestern Ciscaucasia

  • K. K. TarasenkoEmail author
  • E. S. Kovalenko
  • A. A. Kaloyan
  • K. M. Podurets


Morphological features of the membranous labyrinth in extinct and extant baleen whales and their ancestors are discussed. The tomography of the membranous labyrinth of two species of Late Miocene baleen whales from Adygea has shown that Kurdalagonus, Zygiocetus, and Cetotherium have a comparable number of cochlear turns with representatives of herpetocetins, i.e., about three turns. Representatives of the genus Kurdalagonus differ from Zygiocetus in the structure of semicircular canals, the longer crus commune (much shorter in Zygiocetus), and in the size of the ampulla of the lateral semicircular canal. In addition, representatives of the genus Kurdalagonus differ from Zygiocetus and Cetotherium in the structure of the round window, which is much wider and has a more rounded shape.


Cetacea baleen whales morphology inner ear petrosum tomography Late Miocene 



We are grateful to A.V. Pakhnevich (PIN) for discussion of results and practical advice, to T.B. Golubeva (Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Moscow State University) for valuable advice and discussions of results.

This study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 18-35-00206 mol_a. Measurements were performed at the unique scientific facility Kurchatov Synchrotron Radiation Source supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (project code RFMEFI61917X0007).


  1. 1.
    Barroso, C., Cranford, T.W., and Berta, A., Shape analysis of odontocetes mandibles: Functional and evolutionary implications, J. Morphol., 2012, pp. 1021–1030.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bianucci, G. and Gingerich, P.D., Aegyptocetus tarfa, n. gen. et sp. (Mammalia, Cetacea), from the Middle Eocene of Egypt: Clinorhynchy, olfaction, and hearing in a protocetid whale, J. Vertebr. Paleontol., 2011, vol. 31, pp. 1173–1188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Churchill, M., Martínez-Cáceres, M., de Muizon, C., Mnieckowski, J., and Geisler, J.H., The origin of high-frequency hearing in whales, Curr. Biol., 2016, vol. 16, no. 26, pp. 144–2149.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cranford, T.W., Krysl, P., and Amundin, M., Acoustic portal into the odontocete ear and vibrational analysis of the tympanoperiotic complex. PLoS ONE, 2010, vol. 5, p. e11927. doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0011927CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cranford, T.W., Krysl, P., and Hildebrand, J.A., Acoustic pathways revealed: Simulated sound transmission and reception in Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), Bioinspir. Biomim., 2008, no. 3, pp. 1–10.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ekdale, E., Morphological variation among the inner ears of extinct and extant baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti), J. Morphol., 2016, vol. 12, no. 277, pp. 1–28.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ekdale, E. and Racicot, R., Anatomical evidence for low frequency sensitivity in an archaeocete whale: Comparison of the inner ear of Zygorhiza kochii with that of crown Mysticeti, J. Anat., 2014, vol. 226, pp. 22–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fahlke, J., Gingerich, P.D., Welsh, R.C., et al., Cranial asymmetry in Eocene archaeocete whales and the evolution of directional hearing in water, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 2011, no. 108, pp. 14545–14548.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fleischer, G., Hearing in extinct cetaceans as determined by cochlear structure, J. Paleontol., 1976, vol. 50, pp. 133–152.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fraser, F.C. and Purves, P.E., Hearing in the Cetaceans: Evolution of the accessory air sacs and the structure and function of the outer and middle ear in Recent cetaceans, Bull. Brit. Mus. Natur. Hist., 1960, no. 7, pp. 1–140.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Geisler, J.H. and Luo, Z., The petrosal and inner ear of Herpetocetus sp. (Mammalia: Cetacea) and their implications for the phylogeny and hearing of archaic mysticetes, J. Paleontol., 1996, vol. 70, no. 6, pp. 1045–1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Geisler, J.H. and Sanders, A.E., Morphological evidence for the phylogeny of Cetacea, J. Mammal Evol., 2003, no. 10, pp. 23–129.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kaloyan, A.A., Kovalenko, E.S., Pakhnevich, A.V., Podurets, K.M., Rozhnov, S.V., and Somenkov, V.A., Synchrotron and neutron tomography in the study of paleontological objects: Surface, in Rentgenovskie, sinkhrotronnye i neitronnye issledovaniya (X-Ray, Synchrotron, and Neutron Investigations), 2014, vol. 11, pp. 5–11.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Luo, Z.-X. and Marsh, K., Petrosal (periotic) and inner ear of a Pliocene kogiine whale (Kogiinae, Odontoceti): Implications on relationships and hearing evolution of toothed whales, J. Vertebr. Paleontol., 1996, vol. 16, pp. 328–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Marx, F.G., The more the merrier? A large cladistic analysis of mysticetes, and comments on the transition from teeth to baleen, J. Mammal. Evol., 2011, vol. 18, pp. 77–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Norris, K., The evolution of acoustic mechanisms in odontocetes cetaceans, in Evolution and Environment, Drake, E.T., Ed., New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1968, pp. 297–324.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Park, T., Fitzgerald, E.M.G., and Evans, A.R., Ultrasonic hearing and echolocation in the earliest toothed whales, Biol. Lett., 2016, vol. 12, p. 20160060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Park, T., Fitzgerald, M.G., and Evans, A.R., The tympanal recess of the cetacean cochlea: Function and evolution, Acoust. Austral. Austral. Acoust, Soc., 2017, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 1–6.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tarasenko, K.K., New genera of baleen whales (Cetacea, Mammalia) from the Miocene of the Northern Caucasus and Ciscaucasia: 3. Zygiocetus gen. nov. (Middle Sarmatian, Adygea), Paleontol. Zh., 2014, no. 5, pp. 99–109.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tarasenko, K.K., Kovalenko, E.C., and Podurets, K.M., Tomographic investigation of the labyrinth of the petrosal of the acoustic capsule in Late Miocene baleen whales of northwestern Ciscaucasia, in Materialy LXIII sessii PO. Integrativnaya paleontologiya: perspektivy razvitiya dlya geologicheskikh tselei (LXIII Session of the Paleontological Society on the Integrative Paleontology: Prospects of the Development for the Geological Purposes), 2017, pp. 89–90.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tarasenko, K.K., Kovalenko, E.S., Pakhnevich, A.V., and Podurets, K.M., Survey of petrosal bone of the inner ear of Late Miocene baleen and toothed whales from northwest Caucasus through tomography (First experience), in Micro-CT User Meeting: Abstract Book, Brussels, 2017, pp. 60–65.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tarasenko, K.K. and Lopatin, A.V., New genera of baleen whales (Cetacea, Mammalia) from the Miocene of the Northern Caucasus and Ciscaucasia: 1. Kurdalagonus gen. nov. (Middle–Late Sarmatian, Adygea), Paleontol. Zh., 2012a, no. 5, pp. 86–98.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Tarasenko, K.K. and Lopatin, A.V., New genera of baleen whales (Cetacea, Mammalia) from the Miocene of the Northern Caucasus and Ciscaucasia: 2. Vampalus gen. nov. (Middle–Late Sarmatian, Chechen Republic and Krasnodar Region), Paleontol. Zh., 2012b, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 620–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Whitmore, F.C. and Barnes, L.G., The Herpetocetinae, a new subfamily of extinct baleen whales (Mammalia, Cetacea, Cetotheriidae), Virginia Mus. Natur. Hist. Spec. Publ., 2008, no. 14, pp. 141–180.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Yamada, M. and Yoshizaki, F., Osseous labyrinth of Cetacea, Sci. Rep. Whales. Res. Inst., 1959, vol. 14, pp. 291–304.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. K. Tarasenko
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. S. Kovalenko
    • 2
  • A. A. Kaloyan
    • 2
  • K. M. Podurets
    • 2
  1. 1.Borissiak Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”MoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations