Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Abstract North Pacific fossil sirenians comprise representatives of three subfamilies of the Dugongidae: Halitheriinae (Metaxytherium arctodites, Middle Miocene, North America), Hy-drodamalinae (Dusisiren spp., Early-Late Miocene, and Hydrodamalis spp., Late Miocene-Pleistocene, North America and Japan), and Dugonginae (Dioplotherium allisoni, Early-Middle Miocene, North America). Indeterminate dugongid remains are also known from the Late Oligocene of Japan, and the discovery of additional taxa in the western Pacific, especially in Paleogene rocks, can be anticipated. The known North Pacific Neogene taxa apparently dispersed into the Pacific from the Caribbean. Metaxytherium gave rise in the Pacific to Dusisiren; a series of chronospecies of the latter genus eventually culminated in Hydrodamalis, which was exterminated by humans circa AD 1768. Dioplotherium left no known descendants in the Pacific. The Recent Dugong probably entered the Pacific from the Indian Ocean. The presence in the North Pacific Miocene of at least three sympatric dugongid lineages, together with desmostylians, is evidence for a diversity of marine plants that was reduced by subsequent climatic cooling.
Type of Medium: