Dolphin Inner Ear Bone Fossil a.JPG
Dolphin Inner Ear Bone Fossil
SITE LOCATION: Pungo River or Yorktown Formation, Aurora, Beaufort Co., North Carolina, USA
TIME PERIOD: Miocene age (5.3-23 Million Years Ago)
Data: Dolphins are a widely distributed and diverse group of aquatic mammals. They are an informal grouping within the order Cetacea, excluding whales and porpoises, so to zoologists the grouping is paraphyletic. The dolphins comprise the extant families Delphinidae (the oceanic dolphins), Platanistidae (the Indian river dolphins), Iniidae (the new world river dolphins), and Pontoporiidae (the brackish dolphins), and the extinct Lipotidae (baiji or Chinese river dolphin). There are 40 extant species of dolphins. Dolphins, alongside other cetaceans, belong to the clade Cetartiodactyla with even-toed ungulates. Cetaceans' closest living relatives are the hippopotamuses, having diverged about 40 million years ago.