Rare Late Miocene Seal Taxa (Carnivora, Phocidae) from the North Sea Basin

Koretsky, I., Rahmat, S., Peters, N.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/vzoo-2014-0050


The discovery of new late Miocene fossil true seals from the North Sea Basin in Northern Europe provides important information regarding the radiation of monachines and phocines in the Eastern Atlantic. Examination of the fi rst fossil seal remains from the Gram Formation, western Denmark, allowed redescriptions and emended diagnoses of several taxa. Analysis of diagnostic material recovered from western Denmark and The Netherlands shows the presence of at least three phocid genera and reveals new information on the taxonomic variability of true seals. Due to the close relationships that exist between these phocid faunas, a correlation was demonstrated between different localities of Northern and Western Europe and provides the opportunity to associate localities of the Western and Central Paratethys with the eastern and western shores of the North Atlantic. Morphological analyses of postcranial material identifi ed three new late Miocene species (Pontophoca jutlandica, Subfamily Monachinae; Gryphoca nordica and Platyphoca danica, both Subfamily Phocinae), suggesting that the maximum evolutionary diversity of mid-Tertiary phocids occurred first in the Paratethys and later in the North Atlantic Basins.