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Keywords:

  • Archaeoceti;
  • Basilosauridae;
  • Dorudontinae;
  • Eocene;
  • Cross Formation;
  • innominate;
  • pelvis;
  • hind limb;
  • monophyodonty

Abstract

A new archaeocete whale from the late middle or early late Eocene of South Carolina, Chrysocetus healyorum gen. et sp. nov., is described on the basis of a single subadult specimen. This individual includes: a partial skull; hyoid apparatus; lower jaws; teeth; all cervical, some thoracic and some lumbar vertebrae; ribs and sternum; left forelimb elements; and pelves. The specimen includes portions of much of the body, but while some of the bones are fairly complete, others are damaged, particularly the skull. The pelves resemble those of Basilosaurus, documenting a similar stage of hind limb reduction in dorudontines and suggesting that Chrysocetus was not able to support its body on land. The acetabulum for articulation of the femur is well formed and indicates that the hip joint was functional. Chrysocetus is distinguishable from other described dorudontines based on body size, characteristics of the teeth, and forelimb elements. Absence of deciduous teeth in a subadult individual of Chrysocetus may be indicative of an early stage of the evolution of monophyodonty.