The first record of an Eocene (Lutetian) marine mammal from Israel

MB Goodwin, DP Domning, JH Lipps, C Benjamini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In March, 1995, a University of California Research Expedition (UREP) to the northern Negev Desert of Isra el (Fig. I) discovered a caudal vertebra of a marine mammal in chalk deposits of the early Lutetian Horsha Formation. This is the first reported mammal fossil from the Eocene of Israel. The specimen is catalogued in the Vertebrate Paleontology collections of the Hebrew University, Jeru salem, Israel , as PAL.EO.OOI. Casts of the vertebra are on deposit in the University of California Mu seum of Paleontology at Berkeley (UCMP 147541) and
the United States National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (USNM 482283). This vertebra (Fig . 2) is recognizable as repre senting a marine mammal of cetacean or sirenian affinity. Ne ither group can be absolutely
ruled out at pre sent because of the limited characters pre served. The
find is significant, however, because it confirms the occurrence of marine mammals in the stratigraphically well-constrained Eocene chalk
deposits that are extensively exposed in the northern Negev of Israel.
Th is may lead to future discoveries and regional comparisons with the
well-documented Eocene marine mammal faunas of the Tethyan region,
and clarification of their precise stratigraphic position.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)813-815
JournalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1998


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