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Dorudon - a species of ancient whale.
— Allen, on Dorudon

Dorudon (name meaning "Spear-Toothed") is a genus of small, early cetacean that originated during the Eocene. It was related to the larger, more massive, more deadly, and far more lethal Basilosaurus primitive toothed whale. It was essentially a smaller and more compact, scaled down version of Basilosaurus, with subtle yet important differences to mark it out as its own species.

FactsEdit

Era & DiscoveryEdit

Dorudon lived in seas of the Late Eocene period from about 45-30 million years ago. Dorudon was first described by Robert Wilson Gibbes in 1845 based on a fragmentary maxilla and a few teeth found in South Carolina.

Physical AttributesEdit

Dorudon was a relatively small whale, measuring 16-20 feet (5-6 m) long and weighing 2 tons, making them roughly as big as the Orca, or Killer Whale.

Related to the apex predator of their time Basilosaurus, they shared many similar physical traits. It had a relatively large skull with a pair of jaws lined with sharp teeth used to grip onto prey. It also had small hind limbs used to help males and females lock onto each other during copulation.

However, it lacked the melon organ of the modern dolphins and whales, and so it couldn't produce ultrasounds as they did - instead, Dorudon communicated with each other by high-pitched sounds that sounded vaguely like squeaking. Just like BasilosaurusDorudon also lacked blubber and needed warm and rather shallow waters to live.

Behavior & TraitsEdit

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As a species of smaller ancient whale, Dorudon, unlike its larger relatives, lived in pods ranged in size and age, including juveniles. Whilst some groups contained over twenty individuals, some would consist of just a few. They lived in these groups to protect their offspring, as shown by a large number of Dorudon fossils in Egypt's Fayum deposits, both of adults and calves.

When Dorudon gathered in numbers, it meant the females were about to give birth. When females are ready to give birth, they would instinctively return to shallow waters and make a nursery for the newborns. Giving birth in shallow waters would restrict large predators like Basilosaurus from entry. In the egyptian discovery, however, some Dorudon fossils are crushed or have teeth marks that match Basilosaurus teeth, so this strategy wasn't always successful.

These whales could also use their numbers to ward off predators, even ones as big as their natural predator Basilosaurus. The distribution of Dorudon ranged. Some groups, particularly larger groups, would live in open, deep waters whilst smaller groups would live in shallow waters and mangrove swamps.

GalleryEdit

Trivia Edit

  • The sound effects of Dorudon are that of small marine mammals, such as altered dolphin and beluga whale sounds.