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Return to the SeaThe Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals$
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Annalisa Berta

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520270572

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520270572.001.0001

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Cetartiodactylan Diversity, Evolution, and Adaptations

Cetartiodactylan Diversity, Evolution, and Adaptations

(p.79) Chapter Four Cetartiodactylan Diversity, Evolution, and Adaptations
Return to the Sea

Annalisa Berta

University of California Press

The origin and evolutionary history of cetartiodactylans, which include cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and their extinct ungulate relatives, is explored in this chapter. The excellent whale fossil record shows how they evolved from a land mammal ancestry. Structural and functional innovations and adaptations such as skin with thick blubber, flippers and flukes and their use in swimming, vision and spy hopping, hearing and sound production (e.g., echolocation), and feeding specializations and strategies using teeth and baleen are reviewed. Also considered are cetacean social systems—pods, schools, and family units related to foraging strategies and correlated, in part, with brain evolution.

Keywords:   whales, dolphins, porpoises, flukes, baleen and teeth, echolocation, brain evolution and social systems

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