Zygorhiza kochii

Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetacea

 

(Scale bar is 10 cm)

 

Fragments of two ancient whale species are common in the Ocala of Georgia. One of these, recognized easily by its shorter vertebrae, is Zygorhiza kochii.

The earliest known whales come from early Eocene rocks in southern Asia, but the two American species were among the earliest discovered and are still some of the best known.

The photograph above shows a partial jawbone and a vertebra, and was taken from a specimen of which a fair part of the front of the skeleton was discovered. Such finds are not too uncommon, but isolated teeth and vertebrae, along with other bone fragments (particularly ribs) are much more frequently found.

Abundant whale material is only known from the late Eocene of the southeastern United States.

Because these actively swimming predators lived well above the sediment, their utility as environmental indicators is essentially restricted to indicating marine settings.


AGE: LATE EOCENE

FORMATION: OCALA LIMESTONE

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