A new skull of the fossil porpoise Numataphocoena yamashitai (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) from the upper part of the Horokaoshirarika Formation (lower Pliocene), Numata Town, Hokkaido, Japan, and its phylogenetic position

  • Tanaka Y
  • Ichishima H
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Abstract

An early Pliocene porpoise, Numataphocoena yamashitai from Hokkaido, Japan, is known from the holotype, a fairly well-preserved skeleton with an incomplete skull and a referred earbone. A new skull referred to Numataphocoena yamashitai found from almost the same locality as the holotype is interesting because it expands knowl- edge of skull morphology and improves the diagnosis of this taxon. Numataphocoena yamashitai differs from other phocoenids in having the characteristic feature in the maxilla associated with the posterior dorsal infraorbital foramen, narrower and sharper anterior part of the internal acoustic meatus, and a robust anterior process of the peri- otic. A new cladistic analysis places Numataphocoena yamashitai adjacent to Haboro- phocoena toyoshimai and Haborophocoena minutus, among a clade of early branching phocoenids, all of which are chronologically and geographically close to each other. The new skull is probably a younger individual because it is about 80% the size of that of the holotype and it shows closed but unfused sutures. Our description of this specimen helps to understand the intraspecies variation of the extinct species Numataphocoena yamashitai.

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Tanaka, Y., & Ichishima, H. (2016). A new skull of the fossil porpoise Numataphocoena yamashitai (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) from the upper part of the Horokaoshirarika Formation (lower Pliocene), Numata Town, Hokkaido, Japan, and its phylogenetic position. Palaeontologia Electronica. https://doi.org/10.26879/663

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