A cetacean vertebra from presumably Bartonian strata near Taradell, Northeastern Spain, described by Pilleri in 1989, is here re-examined. Also a description of the local stratigraphy is given. Notwithstanding the rather severe damage of the vertebral centrum, it shows the same characteristics as vertebrae ascribed to Pachycetus (‘Platyosphys’; ‘Basilotritus’) sp. from, amongst others, Ukraine, Germany and Belgium. The characteristics are: the combined presence of a compact, circumferential multi-layered cortex, the pock-marked surface of the vertebral centrum, the pachyostotic pedicles of the neural arch and finally the probable elongation of the vertebral centrum, the transverse processes and the pedicles of the neural arch. The compactness of the midpart of the vertebral centrum has been measured and is compared with that of other taxa. The find extends the geographic distribution of this genus to Southwestern Europe. The vertebra appears to belong to a small species of Pachycetus, which was until now not known with certainty from Europe, although some similar-sized vertebrae from the Southern Bight of the North Sea have recently been described.


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Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

H.J. van Vliet, M. Bosselaers, T. Paijmans, & S. Calzada. (2023). An archaeocete vertebra re-examined: indications for a small-sized species of Pachycetus from Spain, Europe. Deinsea, 21, 1–16.