Sep 2016 – Another publication in Marine Mammal Science

Following on from our recent commentary in Animal Cognition (doi:10.1007/s10071-016-1026-x), check out this latest paper (online early view) in Marine Mammal Science:

Title: Cranial morphology and taxonomic resolution of some dolphin taxa (Delphinidae) in Australian waters, with a focus on the genus Tursiops

Authors: Maria Jedensjö, Catherine M. Kemper and Michael Krützen.

Abstract: Phylogenetic relationships in the family Delphinidae have been widely debated. We examined 347 skulls of Tursiops, Stenella, Delphinus, Steno, Lagenodelphis, and Sousa in order to resolve the phylogenetic position of Australian species of Tursiops. Five Tursiops type specimens were included. Cranial morphology was described using 2-dimensional (2-D) and 3-dimensional geometric morphometrics (3-GM), counts and categorical data. Analyses showed a clear morphological separation of Tursiops, including type specimens, from other genera. The three Stenella species did not cluster together. Stenella attenuata clustered with Delphinus delphis, and Stenella coeruleoalba with Lagenodelphis hosei. Length and width of the skull and rostrum were important discriminators in both methods. For 3-D data, round vs. angular posterior skull shape distinguished some genera. Taxa that overlapped in the multivariate analyses had different mean tooth counts. Our study challenges genetic studies that identified Tursiops as polyphyletic, with T. aduncus closer to S. attenuata.

Key words: Tursiops, Stenella, Delphinus, Lagenodelphis, Sousa, Steno, Delphininae, Delphinidae, morphology, geometric morphometrics.

You can access the article at DOI: 10.1111/mms.12356 or drop Maria or Michael an email for further details.