Named By: R. Kellogg - 1927.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Cetacea, Odontoceti, Physeteridae.
Species: A. morricei (type), A. mediatlanticus, A. rionegrensis.
Known locations: USA, California - Sharktooth Hill, Maryland - Saint Mary;'s Formation. Argentina, Río Negro.
Time period: Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.
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
raising the possibility that these fossils could be
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.
- Study of the skull of a fossil sperm-whale from the Temblor Miocene of Southern California. - Contributions to Palaeontology from the Carnegie Institution of Washington: 3–24. - R. Kellogg - 1927.