Stratigraphic paleobiology of an evolutionary radiation: taphonomy and facies distribution of cetaceans in the last 23 million years


Stefano Dominici¹, Simone Cau², Alessandro Freschi²

¹ Museo di Storia Naturale, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy;
² Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, della Vita e della Sostenibilità Ambientale, Università degli Studi di Parma, Parma, Italy;,


How to cite: Dominici et al. (2018). Stratigraphic paleobiology of an evolutionary radiation: taphonomy and facies
distribution of cetaceans in the last 23 million years. Fossilia, Volume 2018: 15-17.

Bullet-Points Abstract

  • The majority of cetacean fossils are in Zanclean and Piacenzian deposits
  • Cetacean fossils are preferentially found in offshore paleosettings
  • Pleistocene findings drop to a minimum, notwithstanding offshore strata are well represented in the record
  • A taphonomic imprinting on the cetacean fossil record is hypothesised, connected with a radiation of whale-bone consumers of modern type.

Keywords: Neogene; Pliocene; Cetaceans; Taphonomy.


Fig. 1. A, Distribution (%) of the findings (N = 255) per time interval, standardized for the duration of each time interval (N/Ma); B, Distribution of fossils (N = 131) and facies for time bin.