Development of the Cetacean Nasal Skull

  • M. Klima

Part of the Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology book series (ADVSANAT, volume 149)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages N2-VIII
  2. M. Klima
    Pages 1-3
  3. M. Klima
    Pages 5-8
  4. M. Klima
    Pages 13-43
  5. M. Klima
    Pages 131-143
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 133-143

About this book


Morphogeny of the nasal skull was investigated in 92 embryos of 13 species of Cetacea. Compared to the original nasal capsule of land mammals, the nasal structures of Cetacea show many weighty transformations. As a result, the nostrils are translocated from the tip of the snout to the vertex of the head. Several structures of the embryonic nasal skull remain preserved even in adult cetaceans. The translocation of the nostrils to the highest point of the surfacing body is among the most perfect adaptations of cetaceans to the aquatic life habits. The morphogeny of the nasal skull suggests that all cetaceans are of common origin and form a single monophyletic order. The hitherto usual division of this order into two suborders, Mysticeti and Odontoceti, appears to be unsubstantiated. Rather, at least three closely related superfamilies should be distinguished within the order Cetacea, viz., Balaenopteroidea, Physeteroidea, and Delphinoidea. The results are in a conspicuous accordance with the most recent molecular biological investigations on this topic.


aquatic mammals development mysticeti odonoceti wahle

Authors and affiliations

  • M. Klima
    • 1
  1. 1.Dr. Senckenbergische Anatomie, Institut IIIJohann Wolfgang Goethe-UniversitätFrankfurt am MainGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-3-540-64996-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-58612-5
  • Series Print ISSN 0301-5556
  • Series Online ISSN 2192-7065
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