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Balaenoptera, from the Latin balaena (whale) and pteron (fin), is a genus of Balaenopteridae, the rorquals, and contains eight extant species. The species Balaenoptera omurai was published in 2003. Balaenoptera is the most diverse genus of its family, the only other member being the Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae.
- Genus Balaenoptera
- Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Common minke whale
- †Balaenoptera bertae (Pliocene, USA)
- Balaenoptera bonaerensis, Antarctic minke whale
- Balaenoptera borealis, Sei whale
- Balaenoptera brydei, Bryde's whale
- †Balaenoptera colcloughi (Pliocene, USA)
- †Balaenoptera davidsonii (Pliocene, USA)
- Balaenoptera edeni, Eden's whale
- Balaenoptera musculus, Blue whale
- Balaenoptera omurai, Omura's whale
- Balaenoptera physalus, Fin whale
- †Balaenoptera siberi (Pliocene, Peru)
Many fossil Balaenoptera species have been described. Some (namely "B. borealina", "B. definata", "B. emarginata", "B. gibbosa", "B. minutis", "B. rostratella", "B. sibbaldina", and "B. similis") are either non-diagnostic, highly fragmentary, or had no holotype specimen named, and hence are considered nomina dubia. The species "Megaptera" hubachi may in fact be a species of Balaenoptera, and is certainly not a member of Megaptera. The valid fossil species of Balaenoptera are listed below:
B. colcloughi is known from four specimens, including four skulls and some postcranial remains, found at the San Diego Formation. It was a close relative of Megaptera novaeangliae (the humpback whale), B. siberi, and B. physalus (the fin whale).
"B." cortesii is a small species; it probably represents a distinct, unnamed genus of balaenopterid. A larger variant, called "B." cortesii var. portisi is probably also a distinct genus, and may be the same genus or species as Cetotheriophanes capellinii. The species "B. floridana" is indistinguishable from "B." cortesii var. portisi.
Like B. cephalus, B. davidsonii was orinally classified under Eschrichtius, but it has since been moved to Balaenoptera. It was native to the Pliocene San Diego Formation. The only known fossil of B. davidsonii is a fragment of the left dentary.
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