3 feb. 2020
Odobenocetops is an extinct species of toothed whale from the Pliocene epoch of South America. It’s closely related to species like porpoises, narwhal and beluga. Odobenocetops shows an astonishing feeding adaption which can be compared to that of walruses. They probably fed on molluscs, sucking them out of the sea bottom and removed the shells with their powerful tongue. The tusks, on the other hand, probably didn’t play a role in their feeding behaviour and were potentially used by males for social competition.
The genus of Odobenocetops consists of two species that lived in the same period in, what is now, Peru during the Pliocene epoch. Just like O. leptodon, O. peruvianus had two tusks, but they were way smaller; just about 55 cm in length. O. peruvianus had better (binocular) vision to detect its prey, but probably didn’t had a melon for echolocation, like in O. leptodon.
De Muizon, C. & Domning, D. P. (2002). The anatomy of Odobenocetops (Delphinoidea, Mammalia), the walrus-like dolphin from the Pliocene of Peru and its palaeobiological implications. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 134(4), 423-452.