A new odontocete (Inioidea, Odontoceti) from the late Neogene of North Carolina, USA

Godfrey, Stephen J.; Gutstein, Carolina S.; Morgan III, Donald J.

A new monotypic genus of Neogene odontocete (Isoninia borealis) is named on the basis of a partial skull (CMM-V-4061). The holotype was found on the riverbed of the Meherrin River (North Carolina, USA) and probably originated from the Miocene marine Eastover Formation. Deep interdigitation of the cranial sutures indicates that this individual was mature. The new taxon differs from all other delphinidans in the unique combination of the following characters: anteriorly retracted premaxillae and maxillae; premaxillae not contacting nasals; thick nasals with ventrolateral margins deeply imbedded within corresponding troughs in the frontals (this is an apomorphy); nasals with transversely convex dorsal surface; nearly symmetrical vertex; os suturarum (or interparietal or extra folds of the frontals) at the vertex; large dorsal infraorbital foramen level with the posterior margin of the external bony nares; and a postorbital recess on the ventrolateral face of the frontal below and behind the postorbital process of the frontal. This odontocete exhibits two small but pronounced concavities on the cerebral face of the frontal/presphenoid that are presumed to have held vestigial olfactory bulbs in life. Inioidea is only diagnosed by a single unequivocal synapomorphy: width across nasals and nares subequal. Isoninia shares this feature with other inioids and forms the basis for the placement of Isoninia within this clade. A relatively high vertex coupled with a supraoccipital that is deeply wedged between the frontals suggests placement of this new inioid species within the family Iniidae. This is the second inioid described from the Eastover Formation (the other being Meherrinia isoni). This new species adds new cranial morphology and a new combination of cranial characters to this taxonomically small but growing group of mostly marine and mostly Western Hemisphere odontocetes (urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:E8B817CA-B250-42B3-9365-36EFBFE351C9).



Godfrey, Stephen J. / Gutstein, Carolina S. / Morgan III, Donald J.: A new odontocete (Inioidea, Odontoceti) from the late Neogene of North Carolina, USA. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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