Relative warps meet cladistics: A contribution to the phylogenetic relationships ofbaleen whales based on landmark analyses of mysticete crania

 

Authors: Hampe O Baszio S

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 85, issue 2; pages: 199 - 218; Received 30 October 2009; Accepted in revised form 1 March 2010; Online 16 April 2010

Keywords: Mysticeti, morphometry, landmark analysis, relativewarps, relationships, phylogeny,

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Abstract

During the last few years research on fossil baleen whales experienced a renaissance. Several important fossils weredescribed, and new and extended cladistic analyses were performed, partly including molecular data from living species.Despite the progress in our knowledge of their phylogeny, many questions have still not been resolved. A different attemptto illustrate mysticete relationships is presented here using landmark analyses. For the present analysis, 38 dorsalviews of mysticete skulls and skull reconstructions were scanned and thirteen landmarks were defined. The method usedis the relative warp analysis. This method allows a clustering of elements according to their similarity in shape. The calculatedrelative warps explain main shape variations in the sample. As in parsimony analyses the toothed mysticetes areclearly distinguishable. Representatives of the Aetocetoidea are grouped very closely together and therefore their classificationin this family is strongly supported. The performed analysis shows that the crania of the Balaenidae have developedsimilarities to the cranium of Janjucetus hunderi. The restriction of the Cetotheriidae to a small group of taxa isconfirmed here and includes in this analysis Cetotherium, Mixocetus, Piscobalaena, and Titanocetus with a close relationshipto the living gray whale. The stem-balaenopterids do not show any clear signals in the present analysis. There isno support for a subdivision into further families. The structure of the dorsal cranium of Protororqualus andPraemegaptera is very similar to that of Balaenoptera

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