Georgiacetus

Name: Georgiacetus ‭(‬Georgia whale‭)‬.
Phonetic: Jor-jah-see-tus.
Named By: R.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Hulbert,‭ ‬R.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Petkewich,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Bishop,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Bukry‭ & ‬D.‭ ‬P.‭ ‬Aleshire‭ ‬-‭ ‬1998.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Cetacea,‭ ‬Archaeoceti,‭ ‬Protocetidae.
Species: G.‭ ‬vogtlensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull‭ ‬76‭ ‬centimetres long.‭ ‬Total length roughly estimated to be about‭ ‬3‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: ‭ ‬USA,‭ ‬Alabama Georgia and Mississippi.
Time period: Bartonian of the Eocene.
Fossil representation: Skull,‭ ‬mandible as well as partial post cranial remains.

       Georgiacetus is one of the most primitive whale genera to be discovered in the United States,‭ ‬with the holotype fossils discovered in the state of Georgia during the construction of a nuclear power station.‭ ‬New fossil material discovered in‭ ‬2008‭ ‬resulted in confirmation that Georgiacetus did not have a fluked tail like modern whale forms.‭ ‬This also means that Georgiacetus would have primarily swum with a combination of undulating the hips and trunk with the rear legs used for additional propulsion.
       This in turn has caused a little bit of upset with traditional evolutionary models which had whales evolving in Asia,‭ ‬and then developing tail flukes which allowed them to cross oceans into new territories.‭ ‬The presence of Georgiacetus,‭ ‬without a tail fluke in North America proves that this was not entirely the case.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬this does not completely discount the idea of an Asian origin for whales,‭ ‬early populations were best adapted for coastal swimming anyway,‭ ‬and they could have spread across to North America simply by hugging the coast lines of India,‭ ‬China,‭ ‬and Russia,‭ ‬before passing along Beringia.‭ ‬Beringia is the name of the land bridge that once connected Eurasia and North America that allowed faunal exchanges to take place for tens of millions of years,‭ ‬but today this has been submerged to form the Bering Strait.‭ ‬It should also be remembered that during the Eocene North and South America were separated,‭ ‬and that once primitive whales reached Southern Mexico they would be able to keep swimming along to colonise the southern and eastern coastlines of North America.


Further reading
-‭ ‬A new middle Eocene protocetid whale‭ (‬Mammalia:‭ ‬Cetacea:‭ ‬Archaeoceti‭) ‬and associated biota from Georgia.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Journal of Paleontology‭ ‬72‭(‬5‭)‬:907-927.‭ ‬-‭ ‬R.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Hulbert,‭ ‬R.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Petkewich,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Bishop,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Bukry‭ & ‬D.‭ ‬P.‭ ‬Aleshire‭ ‬-‭ ‬1998.
-‭ ‬New Protocetid Whales from Alabama and Mississippi,‭ ‬and a New Cetacean Clade,‭ ‬Pelagiceti.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology‭ ‬28‭ (‬3‭)‬:‭ ‬589‭–‬593.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Mark D.‭ ‬Uhen‭ ‬-‭ ‬2008.





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