Shark-cetacean trophic interactions during the late Pliocene in the Central Eastern Pacific (Panama)

Dirley Cortés, Carlos De Gracia, Jorge D. Carrillo-Briceño, Gabriel Aguirre-Fernández, Carlos Jaramillo, Aldo Benites-Palomino, Joaquín Enrique Atencio-Araúz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We provide a description of the remains of a fossil whale from western Panama. The record consists of appendicular remains of a mysticete, which has been assigned to Balaenopteridae. These remains, found in the sediments of the late Pliocene Burica Formation, represent the first record of a marine mammal in the Neogene sedimentary succession of the Burica Peninsula. Two different types of shark bite marks, serrated and deep-unserrated, found on the radius and phalanges suggest scavenging by at least two white shark (Carcharodon) individuals. The deep, unserrated marks were possibly caused by continual biting by sharks. Both the morphology of the shark bite marks and their relative location on the whale limb bones constitute evidence of sharkcetacean trophic interaction. Although the specimen lacks diagnostic features that would allow a species-level identification, it does provide new information on the vertebrate fauna of a very poorly prospected Central Eastern Pacific exposure, thus opening an opportunity for exploring the marine fauna during a critical episode in Earth history, the Plio-Pleistocene transition.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalPalaeontologia Electronica
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Central America
  • Late Pliocene
  • Mysticeti
  • Neogene
  • Shark bite marks
  • Trophic interaction

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    Cortés, D., De Gracia, C., Carrillo-Briceño, J. D., Aguirre-Fernández, G., Jaramillo, C., Benites-Palomino, A., & Atencio-Araúz, J. E. (2019). Shark-cetacean trophic interactions during the late Pliocene in the Central Eastern Pacific (Panama). Palaeontologia Electronica, 22(2). https://doi.org/10.26879/953