Taphonomy of a Mysticeti whale in the Lower Pliocene Huelva Sands Formation (Southern Spain)


  • R. ESPERANTE Geoscience Research InstituteLoma Linda, 92350 California, USA.
  • F. MUÑIZ GUINEA Grupo de Investigación RNM 316 “Tectónica y Paleontología”, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Campus del Carmen, Universidad de HuelvaAvda. Tres de Marzo, s/n, 21071 Huelva, Spain.
  • K.E. NICK Department of Earth and Biological Sciences, Loma Linda University Loma Linda, 92350 California, USA.


Baleen whale, Mysticeti, Neogene, Guadalquivir basin


This paper reports the occurrence of an incomplete fossil baleen whale skeleton in the Lower Pliocene Huelva Sands Formation (Guadalquivir basin) near the town of Bonares, southwestern Spain. The skeleton was found in the highly bioturbated glauconitic sandstone unit in association with Neopycnodonte cochlear shells. Several morphological features of the mandibles, scapula and vertebrae suggest that the specimen belongs in the suborden Mysticeti, family Balaenopteridae. Most bones show abrasion due to a long exposure on the seafloor, and some bones show shark tooth marks and both micro- and macro-bioerosion by scavengers. The position of the bones suggests that the carcass landed on the seafloor on its left side and then turned right side up. Sedimentological and paleontological features indicate that the whale was buried in shallow platform waters under low sedimentation rates.



How to Cite

ESPERANTE R, MUÑIZ GUINEA F, NICK K. Taphonomy of a Mysticeti whale in the Lower Pliocene Huelva Sands Formation (Southern Spain). GeA [Internet]. 2009Oct.6 [cited 2021Oct.28];7(4):489-505. Available from: https://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/GEOACTA/article/view/105.000001451




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