Subject: Prehistoric whale

Lindsay J Porter (
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 09:31:30 +0800

>Am trying to locate info on first known species of whale  but do not know
>correct spelling. Can you help?
> Name is Pachysedes or pachyceidas

I think you must be referring to the oldest fossil whale known - which is
(although this lacked certain anatomical features required for directional
and efficient hearing in water and Ambulocetus is the earliest marine
archaeocete known to date).
Gingerich, P.D., Raza, S.M., Arif, M. Anwar, M, and Zhou, X. 1994.  New
whale from the Eocene of Pakistan and the origin of cetacean swimming.
Nature 368: 844-6.  describe a 46 million year old intermediate between land
mammals and later whales - which the authors describe as the "oldest whale
described from deep-neritic shelf deposits"

References on Pakicetus
Gingerich, P.D. and Russel, D.E. 1981 Cont. Mus. Paleont. Univ. Mich. 25:235-46
Gingerich, P.D., Wells, N.A., Russel, D.E. and Shah, S.M. 1983.  Science
220: 403-6
Gingerich, P.D. and Russel, D.E. 1990 Cont. Mus. Paleont. Univ. Mich. 28: 1-20
Thewissen, J.G.M. and Hussain, S.T. 1993.  Nature 361: 444-5

Martin, A.R. 1990.  The Illustrated Encylopedia of Whales and Dolphins.  New
York: Portland House. 192pp.  
has a good section on the evolution of whales

hope this is of help
best wishes

Lindsay J. Porter

Dolphin Research Group
The Swire Institute of Marine Science
The University of Hong Kong
Cape d'Aguilar
Hong Kong