Oligocene-Length Dolphin Had Unfamiliar Feeding Manner

Aureia rerehua had unparalleled enamel which could well accept formed a cage around shrimp fish; these enamel, along with a ragged vertex, flexible neck, and the smallest dimension amongst its relatives would create it a succesful hunter in shallow waters, in step with a bunch of workers of paleontologists from the University of Otago.

The skull of Aureia rerehua; display veil the splay of the enamel and facial topography. Image credit: Meekin et al., doi: 10.1080/03036758.2024.2314505.

The skull of Aureia rerehua; display veil the splay of the enamel and facial topography. Image credit: Meekin et al., doi: 10.1080/03036758.2024.2314505.

The newly-described species of dolphin lived in the Oligocene-duration seas, roughly 22 million years ago.

Dubbed Aureia rerehua, the species used to be around 2 m (6.6 toes) in length and in actual fact seemingly echolocated.

It had a ragged skull, flexible neck and unparalleled lateral enamel orientation, suggesting it scanned shallow waters to hold shrimp prey in a basket of enamel.

“It had widely splayed enamel which could well be diagram to accept clasped around fish, delight in a huge basket, which is real because various musty dolphins in the gap most frequently mature their enamel to strike prey,” acknowledged University of Otago paleontologist Shane Meekin.

“When taking a look on the enamel of dolphins, it’s pure to mediate the big enamel on the front and center of the mouth would be the most most well-known tools for catching prey, stabbing or slashing uncomfortable fish.”

“Here’s how linked dolphins did appear to hunt, nonetheless Aureia rerehua appears to be like to accept taken a fully various come, the exhaust of these enamel in a extra unruffled map.”

The fossils of Aureia rerehua — skull, enamel, ear bones, mandibles, vertebrae, and ribs — were display veil in a quarry in the Hakataramea Valley, Novel Zealand.

“From 22 to 27 million years ago, Novel Zealand sank, leaving between 1% publicity above sea-stage and total submergence, in which marine lifestyles thrived,” the paleontologists acknowledged.

“The deposits from that point signify quite loads of the cetaceans fresh in the collections of the University of Otago Geology Museum.”

“One such is Aureia rerehua which used to be mute from a Limestone Quarry in Hakataramea Valley, South Canterbury, acknowledged as ‘Haugh’s Quarry’.”

The discovery of Aureia rerehua reveals there were many fossil dolphins in a single shrimp space, which various a great deal in discover.

“This reveals that reputedly identical animals can coexist in the event that they explore various ecological niches,” Meekin acknowledged.

“It also additional indicates that early prehistoric dolphins mature many various feeding ideas to explore various niches, which is why so many various kinds of extinct dolphins were retrieved from fossil localities equivalent to Hakataramea valley.”

The findings were printed on February 21, 2024 in the Journal of the Royal Society of Novel Zealand.


Shane Meekin et al. Aureia rerehua, a brand new platanistoid dolphin from the Oligocene of Novel Zealand with a particular feeding map. Journal of the Royal Society of Novel Zealand, printed online February 21, 2024; doi: 10.1080/03036758.2024.2314505