Janjucetus – an early baleen whale

(jan-jew-see-tuss)

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Illustration of Janjucetus hunderi.
Image: Carl Buell
Source: Carl Buell

Skull of Janjucetus hunderi.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

Teeth detail of Janjucetus hunderi.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

Tertiary

HOW BIG IT WAS

Janjucetus relative size depiction as described below
Janjucetus was approximately 3 m long.

Janjucetus was a small whale that lived around 25 million years ago off the Victorian coast. It hunted large fish for food, gripping them between its sharp teeth with the help of powerful jaw muscles.

Despite having fearsome teeth, the skull bones of Janjucetus show that it was in fact a very primitive baleen whale – but without baleen. Janjucetus is therefore a vivid evolutionary link between ancient whales and the modern Blue Whale.

A TRAIL THROUGH TIME

Australia's oldest mammal fossils are over 100 million years old. See how they have changed over time.

BishopsNeohelosDiprotodonKangaroos

WHERE IT WAS FOUND

Janjucetus map

This fossil of Janjucetus hunderi was discovered in Victoria.

RELATED OBJECTS

Other objects from the Tertiary

Anglesea floraCarcharoclesNeohelosKambaraHaddon nutsBrown coalQuipollornis

Related Resources

MV Resources

Photograph of a yellow plastic Tyranasaurus Rex