Morenocetus is an extinct genus of primitive balaenid from the early Micoene Burdigalian of Argentina.

Temporal range: Burdigalian
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Balaenidae
Genus: Morenocetus
Cabrera, 1926

M. parvus Cabrera, 1926


Morenocetus is distinguished from more derived balaenids in the narrow exposure of the squamosal lateral to the exoccipital, a short supraorbital process of the frontal, straight lateral edges of the supraoccipital, and a postorbital process of the frontal oriented posteriorly. It can be distinguished from the only other Miocene balaenid, Peripolocetus in having a dorsoventrally expanded zygomatic process of the squamosal. The body length of Morenocetus is estimated at 17-18 feet (5.2-5.6 meters), and the rostrum is moderately arched dorsoventrally in contrast to crown Balaenidae.[1]


Morenocetus is the oldest named extinct balaenid so far, although a chaeomysticete specimen from late Oligocene marine deposits in New Zealand was reported as a stem-balaenid in an SVP 2002 abstract by Ewan Fordyce.[2]


  1. ^ Buono MR, Fernández MS, Cozzuol MA, Cuitiño JI, Fitzgerald EMG. (2017) The early Miocene balaenid Morenocetus parvus from Patagonia (Argentina) and the evolution of right whales. PeerJ 5:e4148
  2. ^ Fordyce, R.E., 2002. Oligocene origin of skim–feeding right whales: a small archaic balaenid from New Zealand. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22:54A

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