Named By: Jean-Pierre Sylvestre de Grateloup - 1840.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Cetacea, Platanistoidea, Squalodontidae.
Species: S. grateloupii (type), S. antverpiensis, S. atlanticus, S. barbarus, S. bariensis, S. bellunensis, S. bordae, S. calvertensis, S. catulli, S. dalpiazi, S. hypsispondylus, S. imperator, S. linzianus, S. melitensis, S. meyeri, S. molassicus, S. peregrinus, S. servatus, S. tiedemani, S. vocontiorum, S. whitmorei, S. wingei.
Size: Uncertain, multiple species are named, but remains can be very fragmentary.
Known locations: Across Europe and North America, possibly also Japan.
Time period: Rupelian of the Oligocene through to Langhian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Multiple individuals, but often of very incomplete remains.
is the type genus of the Squalodontidae, a group of prehistoric
that in evolutionary terms of are intermediary between the
older Archaeoceti whales like Basilosaurus
later whales of the Odontoceti which includes modern toothed cetaceans
like the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Exactly
the other relatives of the genus were related to modern cetaceans is
still uncertain however due to many differing opinions.
Squalodon is represented by numerous species, though there is sometimes question over which ones are valid because often Squalodon remains are only of teeth and jaw segments. Squalodon would have been predators of other marine organisms including fish and possibly other marine mammals. They also show an early development towards echolocation, but it is still unknown if they had the ability to echolocate prey themselves, or if that was a later development of Odontoceti whales. The broad geographic and temporal distribution of the genus however suggest that Squalodon were very successful.
Although predators, themselves, Squalodon may not have been the top predators of the ocean during their time. Prehistoric sharks were growing to very large sizes during the time of Squalodon, and include such examples as C. angustidens, C. chubutensis to the fearsome and massive C. megalodon. The disappearance of Squalodon after the early Miocene also corresponds to a development of even more advanced predatory whales such as Brygmophyseter and Livyaten.