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J Y Lima, A P M Carvalho, C T Azevedo, L A Barbosa, L S Silveira
Variations of age and total length of Sotalia guianensis from the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil, were evaluated. Specimens were found stranded. Age and total length of 44 Guiana dolphins were assessed based on tooth analysis. Age varied between 0.5 year and 33 years (mean = 8.23 years). Most specimens were between zero and 6 years old (47%). Total length varied from 119 cm to 198 cm, with mean of 172.52 cm. Asymptotic length was reached at 185 cm and approximately 5-6 years of age. Mean total length and age were higher than in other regions of the distribution range of the species...
October 3, 2016: Brazilian Journal of Biology, Revista Brasleira de Biologia
Giovanni Bianucci, Claudio Di Celma, Mario Urbina, Olivier Lambert
The Ziphiidae (beaked whales) represent a large group of open-ocean odontocetes (toothed cetaceans), whose elusive and deep diving behavior prevents direct observation in their natural habitat. Despite their generally large body size, broad geographical distribution, and high species number, ziphiids thus remain poorly known. Furthermore, the evolutionary processes that have led to their extreme adaptations and impressive extant diversity are still poorly understood. Here we report new fossil beaked whales from the late Miocene of the Pisco Formation (southern Peru)...
2016: PeerJ
Eric G Ekdale
Living mysticetes (baleen whales) and odontocetes (toothed whales) differ significantly in auditory function in that toothed whales are sensitive to high-frequency and ultrasonic sound vibrations and mysticetes to low-frequency and infrasonic noises. Our knowledge of the evolution and phylogeny of cetaceans, and mysticetes in particular, is at a point at which we can explore morphological and physiological changes within the baleen whale inner ear. Traditional comparative anatomy and landmark-based 3D-geometric morphometric analyses were performed to investigate the anatomical diversity of the inner ears of extinct and extant mysticetes in comparison with other cetaceans...
September 14, 2016: Journal of Morphology
Mark Bosselaers, Alberto Collareta
An isolated compartment of a whale barnacle is herein described from Recent beach deposits in Zoutelande (Walcheren, The Netherlands). This specimen is identified as belonging to the extant coronulid species Cryptolepas rhachianecti, currently known as an epizoic symbiont of the grey whale Eschrichtius robustus. This find represents the first occurrence of C. rhachianecti outside the North Pacific, and the first one as a (sub)fossil. In view of the fact that E. robustus, which is currently confined to the North Pacific, is known as a subfossil from the northeastern Atlantic between late Late Pleistocene (c...
2016: Zootaxa
Alexandra T Boersma, Nicholas D Pyenson
The diversification of crown cetacean lineages (i.e., crown Odontoceti and crown Mysticeti) occurred throughout the Oligocene, but it remains an ongoing challenge to resolve the phylogenetic pattern of their origins, especially with respect to stem lineages. One extant monotypic lineage, Platanista gangetica (the Ganges and Indus river dolphin), is the sole surviving member of the broader group Platanistoidea, with many fossil relatives that range from Oligocene to Miocene in age. Curiously, the highly threatened Platanista is restricted today to freshwater river systems of South Asia, yet nearly all fossil platanistoids are known globally from marine rocks, suggesting a marine ancestry for this group...
2016: PeerJ
Masahito Irie, Akihiko Koga, Tomoko Kaneko-Ishino, Fumitoshi Ishino
Amongst the 11 eutherian-specific genes acquired from a sushi-ichi retrotransposon is the CCHC type zinc-finger protein-encoding gene SIRH11/ZCCHC16. Its contribution to eutherian brain evolution is implied because of its involvement in cognitive function in mice, possibly via the noradrenergic system. Although, the possibility that Sirh11/Zcchc16 functions as a non-coding RNA still remains, dN/dS ratios in pairwise comparisons between its orthologs have provided supportive evidence that it acts as a protein...
2016: Frontiers in Chemistry
Maïtena Dumont, Vivian de Buffrénil, Ismael Miján, Olivier Lambert
The rostrum of most ziphiids (beaked whales) displays bizarre swollen regions, accompanied with extreme hypermineralisation and an alteration of the collagenous mesh of the bone. The functional significance of this specialization remains obscure. With the voluminous and dense hemispheric excrescence protruding from the premaxillae, the recently described fossil ziphiid Globicetus hiberus is the most spectacular case. This study describes the histological structure and interprets the growth pattern of this unique feature...
October 2016: Journal of Morphology
Zhijin Liu, Guangjian Liu, Frank Hailer, Pablo Orozco-terWengel, Xinxin Tan, Jundong Tian, Zhongze Yan, Baowei Zhang, Ming Li
BACKGROUND: Bitter taste perception is essential for species with selective food intake, enabling them to avoid unpalatable or toxic items. Previous studies noted a marked variation in the number of TAS2R genes among various vertebrate species, but the underlying causes are not well understood. Laurasiatherian mammals have highly diversified dietary niche, showing repeated evolution of specialized feeding preferences in multiple lineages and offering a unique chance to investigate how various feeding niches are associated with copy number variation for bitter taste receptor genes...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Stefano Montelli, Antonella Peruffo, Tomaso Patarnello, Bruno Cozzi, Enrico Negrisolo
The mitochondrion is the power plant of the eukaryotic cell, and tRNAs are the fundamental components of its translational machinery. In the present paper, the evolution of mitochondrial tRNAs was investigated in the Cetacea, a clade of Cetartiodactyla that retuned to water and thus had to adapt its metabolism to a different medium than that of its mainland ancestors. Our analysis focussed on identifying the factors that influenced the evolution of Cetacea tRNA double-helix elements, which play a pivotal role in the formation of the secondary and tertiary structures of each tRNA and consequently manipulate the whole translation machinery of the mitochondrion...
2016: PloS One
Alexandra Wright, Miriam Scadeng, Dominik Stec, Rebecca Dubowitz, Sam Ridgway, Judy St Leger
The evolutionary process of adaptation to an obligatory aquatic existence dramatically modified cetacean brain structure and function. The brain of the killer whale (Orcinus orca) may be the largest of all taxa supporting a panoply of cognitive, sensory, and sensorimotor abilities. Despite this, examination of the O. orca brain has been limited in scope resulting in significant deficits in knowledge concerning its structure and function. The present study aims to describe the neural organization and potential function of the O...
April 27, 2016: Brain Structure & Function
Anastasia I Kulemzina, Anastasia A Proskuryakova, Violetta R Beklemisheva, Natalia A Lemskaya, Polina L Perelman, Alexander S Graphodatsky
Cetacean karyotypes possess exceptionally stable diploid numbers and highly conserved chromosomes. To date, only toothed whales (Odontoceti) have been analyzed by comparative chromosome painting. Here, we studied the karyotype of a representative of baleen whales, the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus, Mysticeti), by Zoo-FISH with dromedary camel and human chromosome-specific probes. We confirmed a high degree of karyotype conservation and found an identical order of syntenic segments in both branches of cetaceans...
2016: Cytogenetic and Genome Research
Carla A Crossman, Eric B Taylor, Lance G Barrett-Lennard
Hybridization has been documented in a many different pairs of cetacean species both in captivity and in the wild. The widespread occurrence of hybridization indicates that postmating barriers to interbreeding are incomplete within the order Cetacea, and therefore raises questions about how species integrity is maintained in the face of interspecific (and often intergeneric) gene flow. We examined hybridization across the order Cetacea (oceanic species included: N = 78; species with 44 chromosomes included: N = 52) to test for associations between the occurrence of hybridization and similarity across 13 ecological, morphological and behavioral traits in hybridizing vs...
March 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Miwa Suzuki, Hitomi Wakui, Takuya Itou, Takao Segawa, Yasuo Inoshima, Ken Maeda, Kiyoshi Kikuchi
This study investigated the expression of aquaporin 2 (AQP2) and its newly found alternatively spliced isoform (alternative AQP2) and the functions of these AQP2 isoforms in the cellular hyperosmotic tolerance in the bottlenose dolphin, ITALIC! Tursiops truncatus mRNA sequencing revealed that alternative AQP2 lacks the fourth exon and instead has a longer third exon that includes a part of the original third intron. The portion of the third intron, now part of the coding region of alternative AQP2, is highly conserved among many species of the order Cetacea but not among terrestrial mammals...
April 15, 2016: Journal of Experimental Biology
Felix Georg Marx, Mark E J Bosselaers, Stephen Louwye
The family Cetotheriidae has played a major role in recent discussions of baleen whale phylogenetics. Within this group, the enigmatic, monotypic Metopocetus durinasus has been interpreted as transitional between herpetocetines and other members of the family, but so far has been restricted to a single, fragmentary cranium of uncertain provenance and age. Here, we expand the genus and shed new light on its phylogenetic affinities and functional morphology by describing Metopocetus hunteri sp. nov. from the Late Miocene of the Netherlands...
2016: PeerJ
Alexandra T Boersma, Nicholas D Pyenson
Living sperm whales are represented by only three species (Physeter macrocephalus, Kogia breviceps and Kogia sima), but their fossil record provides evidence of an ecologically diverse array of different forms, including morphologies and body sizes without analog among living physeteroids. Here we provide a redescription of Ontocetus oxymycterus, a large but incomplete fossil sperm whale specimen from the middle Miocene Monterey Formation of California, described by Remington Kellogg in 1925. The type specimen consists of a partial rostrum, both mandibles, an isolated upper rostrum fragment, and incomplete tooth fragments...
2015: PloS One
Takushi Kishida, Jgm Thewissen, Takashi Hayakawa, Hiroo Imai, Kiyokazu Agata
INTRODUCTION: While olfaction is one of the most important senses in most terrestrial mammals, it is absent in modern toothed whales (Odontoceti, Cetacea). Furthermore, behavioral evidence suggests that gustation is very limited. In contrast, their aquatic sistergroup, baleen whales (Mysticeti) retain small but functional olfactory organs, and nothing is known about their gustation. It is difficult to investigate mysticete chemosensory abilities because experiments in a controlled setting are impossible...
2015: Zoological Letters
Robert W Boessenecker, R Ewan Fordyce
The Eocene history of cetacean evolution is now represented by the expansive fossil record of archaeocetes elucidating major morphofunctional shifts relating to the land to sea transition, but the change from archaeocetes to modern cetaceans is poorly established. New fossil material of the recently recognized family Eomysticetidae from the upper Oligocene Otekaike Limestone includes a new genus and species, Waharoa ruwhenua, represented by skulls and partial skeletons of an adult, juvenile, and a smaller juvenile...
2015: PeerJ
Steven J van Beurden, Lonneke L IJsseldijk, Soledad R Ordonez, Christine Förster, Geert de Vrieze, Andrea Gröne, M Hélène Verheije, Marja Kik
Herpesviruses infect a wide range of vertebrates, including toothed whales of the order Cetacea. One of the smallest toothed whales is the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), which is widespread in the coastal waters of the northern hemisphere, including the North Sea. Here, we describe the detection and phylogenetic analysis of a novel gammaherpesvirus associated with mucocutaneous and skin lesions in stranded harbour porpoises along the Dutch coast, tentatively designated phocoenid herpesvirus 1 (PhoHV1)...
December 2015: Archives of Virology
Yan-Yan Xu, Xiao-Xiao Tian, Lei-Lei Chen, Hong-Chun Pan
Juema pig is a kind of rare and special pig which is well adapted to high altitude, cold climate and harsh natural environment. The complete mitochondrial genome of Juema pig Sus scrofa is a circular molecule of 16 532 bp in length, containing 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNAs, 22 transfer RNAs, and a control region. The A + T content of the overall base composition of H-strand is 60.7% (T: 26.2%; C: 26.0%; A: 34.5%; G: 13.3%). ND4L gene begins with GTG as start codon, ND2, ND3, and ND5 genes begin with ATA as a start codon, and other nine protein-coding genes start with ATG...
September 2016: Mitochondrial DNA. Part A. DNA Mapping, Sequencing, and Analysis
Nicholas D Pyenson, Jorge Vélez-Juarbe, Carolina S Gutstein, Holly Little, Dioselina Vigil, Aaron O'Dea
In contrast to dominant mode of ecological transition in the evolution of marine mammals, different lineages of toothed whales (Odontoceti) have repeatedly invaded freshwater ecosystems during the Cenozoic era. The so-called 'river dolphins' are now recognized as independent lineages that converged on similar morphological specializations (e.g., longirostry). In South America, the two endemic 'river dolphin' lineages form a clade (Inioidea), with closely related fossil inioids from marine rock units in the South Pacific and North Atlantic oceans...
2015: PeerJ
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