Aulophyseter

Name: Aulophyseter
Phonetic: Or-lo-fie-set-er.
Named By: R.‭ ‬Kellogg‭ ‬-‭ ‬1927.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Cetacea,‭ ‬Odontoceti,‭ ‬Physeteridae.
Species: A.‭ ‬morricei,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬mediatlanticus,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬rionegrensis.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Uncertain.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬California‭ ‬-‭ ‬Sharktooth Hill,‭ ‬Maryland‭ ‬-‭ ‬Saint Mary‭;'‬s Formation.‭ ‬Argentina,‭ ‬Río Negro.
Time period: Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.

       Aulophyseter was a predatory whale similar to a modern day sperm whale,‭ ‬although it probably had a more diverse diet.‭ ‬Aulophyseter was related to other predatory whales such as Acrophyseter and the large Livyatan.‭ ‬Some Aulophyseter however bear a resemblance to another whale called Orycterocetus raising the possibility that these fossils could be synonymous.
       Because Aulophyseter is known from both the west and east coast of the United‭ ‬States,‭ ‬it‭’‬s possible that Aulophyseter may have migrated through the Central American Seaway.‭ ‬Back in the Miocene higher sea levels meant that what is now Panama was completely submerged.‭ ‬Fossil evidence suggests that many cetaceans passed through the area as well as some of their main predators such as the giant prehistoric shark C.‭ ‬megalodon.‭ ‬However as sea levels dropped the‭ ‬Isthmus of Panama was created,‭ ‬which resulted in this migratory route between North and South America being sealed.‭ ‬The closure of the Central American Seaway is seen as the death knell for many species of prehistoric whales as well as the predators that preyed upon them.



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