The list of extinct cetaceans features the extinct genera and species of the order Cetacea. The cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are descendants of land-living mammals, the even-toed ungulates. The earliest cetaceans were still hoofed mammals. These early cetaceans became gradually better adapted for swimming than for walking on land, finally evolving into fully marine cetaceans.

This list currently includes only fossil genera and species. However, the Atlantic population of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) became extinct in the 18th century, and the baiji (or Chinese river dolphin, Lipotes vexillifer) was declared "functionally extinct" after an expedition in late 2006 failed to find any in the Yangtze River.


Suborder ArchaeocetiEdit

Suborder MysticetiEdit

Family AetiocetidaeEdit


Aetiocetus restoration

Family LlanocetidaeEdit

(Late Eocene-Early Oligocene)

Family MammalodontidaeEdit

(jr synonym Janjucetidae)

(Late Oligocene)

Family incertae sedisEdit

Clade ChaeomysticetiEdit

Family incertae sedisEdit

Superfamily EomysticetoideaEdit

Family CetotheriopsidaeEdit

(Oligocene to Miocene)

Family EomysticetidaeEdit

(Oligocene to early Miocene)

Family AglaocetidaeEdit


Superfamily BalaenoideaEdit

Family BalaenidaeEdit

(Oligocene to Recent)

Family incertae sedisEdit

Clade ThalassotheriiEdit

Family CetotheriidaeEdit

(Miocene - Pliocene)

Classification follows Steeman (2007) unless otherwise noted.[8]

Cetotherium restoration
Family DiorocetidaeEdit

(Miocene to Pliocene)

Family NeobalaenidaeEdit

(Miocene to Recent)

Family PelocetidaeEdit


Family incertae sedisEdit
Superfamily BalaenopteroideaEdit
Family BalaenopteridaeEdit

(Miocene to Recent)

Family EschrichtiidaeEdit

(Miocene to Recent)

Family TranatocetidaeEdit

Family incertae sedisEdit

Suborder OdontocetiEdit

Basal formsEdit

Family AgorophiidaeEdit

(Late Oligocene)

Family AshleycetidaeEdit

(Early Oligocene)

Family MirocetidaeEdit

(Early Oligocene)

Family PatriocetidaeEdit

(Oligocene to Early Miocene)

Family SimocetidaeEdit

(Late Oligocene)

Family XenorophidaeEdit


Family InticetidaeEdit

Family MicrozeuglodontidaeEdit

Family SqualoziphiidaeEdit

(Early Miocene)

Family incertae sedisEdit

Superfamily SqualodontoideaEdit

Family DalpiazinidaeEdit

(Late Oligocene to Miocene)

Family ProsqualodontidaeEdit

(Oligocene to Miocene)

Family SqualodontidaeEdit

(Oligocene to Pliocene)

Superfamily PhyseteroideaEdit

Family KogiidaeEdit

(Miocene to recent)

Family PhyseteridaeEdit

Family incertae sedisEdit

Superfamily "Eurhinodelphinoidea"Edit

Family ArgyrocetidaeEdit

(Late Oligocene to Early Miocene)

Family EoplatanistidaeEdit


Family EurhinodelphinidaeEdit

(Mid Miocene to Pliocene)

Superfamily PlatanistoideaEdit

Family AllodelphinidaeEdit

(Early to Middle Miocene)

Life reconstruction of Arktocara yakataga

Family PlatanistidaeEdit

(Miocene to Recent)

Family SqualodelphinidaeEdit

(Early to Late Miocene)

Family WaipatiidaeEdit

Superfamily ZiphioideaEdit

Family ZiphiidaeEdit

(Miocene to Recent)

Clade DelphinidaEdit

Family KentriodontidaeEdit

(Early-Middle Miocene)

Kentriodon reconstruction

Family incertae sedisEdit

Superfamily DelphinoideaEdit

Family AlbireonidaeEdit

(Miocene to Pliocene)

Family DelphinidaeEdit
Etruridelphis giulii

(Oligocene to Recent)

Family MonodontidaeEdit

(Miocene to Pliocene)

Family OdobenocetopsidaeEdit


Odobenocetops reconstruction
Family PhocoenidaeEdit

(Miocene to Recent)

Superfamily InioideaEdit

Family IniidaeEdit
Family PontoporiidaeEdit

(Middle Miocene to Recent)

Superfamily LipotoideaEdit

Family LipotidaeEdit

(Miocene to Recent)

Superfamily incertae sedisEdit

Family incertae sedisEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gingerich, P.D. et al. 2001. Origin of Whales from Early Artiodactyls: Hands and Feet of Eocene Protocetidae from Pakistan. (19 September 2001). Science doi:10.1126/science.1063902.
  3. ^ a b Sunil Bajpai and J.G.M. Thewissen (2014). "Protocetid cetaceans (Mammalia) from the Eocene of India". Palaeontologia Electronica 17 (3): Article number 17.3.34A.
  4. ^ Philip D. Gingerich and Henri Cappetta (2014). "A New Archaeocete and Other Marine Mammals (Cetacea and Sirenia) from Lower Middle Eocene Phosphate Deposits of Togo". Journal of Paleontology. 88 (1): 109–129. doi:10.1666/13-040.
  5. ^ Ryan M. Bebej, Iyad S. Zalmout, Ahmed A. Abed El-Aziz, Mohammed Sameh M. Antar and Philip D. Gingerich (2016). "First remingtonocetid archaeocete (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the middle Eocene of Egypt with implications for biogeography and locomotion in early cetacean evolution". Journal of Paleontology. in press. doi:10.1017/jpa.2015.57.
  6. ^ Felix G. Marx, Cheng-Hsiu Tsai and R. Ewan Fordyce (2015). "A new Early Oligocene toothed ‘baleen’ whale (Mysticeti: Aetiocetidae) from western North America: one of the oldest and the smallest". Royal Society Open Science 2 (12): 150476. doi:10.1098/rsos.150476.
  7. ^ Jonathan H. Geisler; Robert W. Boessenecker; Mace Brown; Brian L. Beatty (2017). "The Origin of Filter Feeding in Whales". Current Biology. in press. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.003.
  8. ^ M. E. Steeman (2007). "Cladistic analysis and a revised classification of fossil and recent mysticetes". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 150 (4): 875–894. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00313.x.
  9. ^ Otsuka, H.; Ota, Y. (2008). "Cetotheres from the early Middle Miocene Bihoku Group in Shobara District, Hiroshima Prefecture, West Japan". Miscellaneous Reports of the Hiwa Museum for Natural History. 49 (2): 1–66.
  10. ^ Bisconti, M. (2006). "Titanocetus, a new baleen whale from the middle Miocene of northern Italy (Mammalia, Cetacea, Mysticeti)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 26 (2): 344–354. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2006)26[344:tanbwf];2. JSTOR 4524574.
  11. ^ K. K. Tarasenko (2014). "Novye rody usatykh kitov (Cetacea, Mammalia) iz miotsena Severnogo Kavkaza i Predkavkaz'ya. 3. Zygiocetus gen. nov. (srednii sarmat, Adygeya)". Paleontological Journal 48 (5).
  12. ^ Robert W. Boessenecker (2013). "A new marine vertebrate assemblage from the Late Neogene Purisima Formation in Central California, part II: Pinnipeds and Cetaceans". Geodiversitas. 35 (4): 815–940. doi:10.5252/g2013n4a5.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Bisconti, M. and Bosselaers, M. (2016), Fragilicetus velponi: a new mysticete genus and species and its implications for the origin of Balaenopteridae (Mammalia, Cetacea, Mysticeti). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 177: 450–474. doi: 10.1111/zoj.12370
  14. ^ Kellogg, R. (1934). "A new cetothere from the Modelo Formation at Los Angeles, California". Carnegie Institution of Washington. 447: 83–104.
  15. ^ Churchill, Morgan; Martinez-Caceres, Manuel; De Muizon, Christian; Mnieckowski, Jessica; Geisler, Jonathan H. (2016). "The Origin of High-Frequency Hearing in Whales". Current Biology. 26 (16): 2144–2149. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.06.004. PMID 27498568.
  16. ^ Fitzgerald, E.M.G. 2004. A review of the Tertiary fossil Cetacea (Mammalia) localities in Australia. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 61(2): 183-208.
  17. ^ Lambert, O., G. Bianucci, K. Post, C. de Muizon, R. Salas-Gismondi, M. Urbina & J. Reumer. (2010). The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru. Nature 466: 105–108. doi:10.1038/nature09067
  18. ^ Yoshihiro Tanaka; R. Ewan Fordyce (2016). "Awamokoa tokarahi, a new basal dolphin in the Platanistoidea (late Oligocene, New Zealand)". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Online edition. doi:10.1080/14772019.2016.1202339.
  19. ^ a b Kimura, T. and Barnes, L.G., 2016. New Miocene fossil Allodelphinidae(Cetacea, Odontoceti, Platanistoidea) from the North Pacific Ocean. Bulletin of the Gunma Museum of Natural History 20:1-58.
  20. ^ Olivier Lambert, Giovanni Bianucci, Mario Urbina, 2014. Huaridelphis raimondii, a new early Miocene Squalodelphinidae (Cetacea, Odontoceti) from the Chilcatay Formation, Peru. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34 (5):987-1004.
  21. ^ Gabriel Aguirre-Fernández and R. Ewan Fordyce (2014). "Papahu taitapu, gen. et sp. nov., an early Miocene stem odontocete (Cetacea) from New Zealand". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34 (1): 195–210. doi:10.1080/02724634.2013.799069.
  22. ^ Lambert, O., and S. Louwye. 2016. A new early Pliocene species of Mesoplodon: a calibration mark for the radiation of this species-rich beaked whale genus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2015.1055754.
  23. ^ Klaas Post & Erwin J.O. Kompanje (2010). "A new dolphin (Cetacea, Delphinidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene of the North Sea". Deinsea 14: 1–13. ISSN 0923-9308.
  24. ^ Giovanni Bianucci (2013). "Septidelphis morii, n. gen. et sp., from the Pliocene of Italy: new evidence of the explosive radiation of true dolphins (Odontoceti, Delphinidae)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 33 (3): 722–740. doi:10.1080/02724634.2013.744757.
  25. ^ Rachel A. Racicot, Thomas A. Deméré, Brian L. Beatty, Robert W. Boessenecker. Unique Feeding Morphology in a New Prognathous Extinct Porpoise from the Pliocene of California. Current Biology, 13 March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.02.031