New Cetacean Migration Routes Based on Fossil Whale Barnacles

The oldest scientific study of fossil whale barnacles from Taiwan was reported by Ichiro Hayasaka in 1934. After examination of the material, that includes two cut-sections and one slice, the taxonomic assignment is revised to Coronula bifida Bronn, 1831. A petrographic study of the surrounding matrix shows that the matrix lacks of slate and lithic fragments, indicating that the specimen was deposited in the pre-collision settings during the Miocene to early Pliocene. By rediscovery of the museum specimens from Taiwan and Japan, we proposed that whales passed through the Taiwan Strait to Okinawa and moved northwards via the Pacific coast of Honshu or entered into the Sea of Japan since the late Miocene (~11.2 Ma - 5.3 Ma). This is one of the oldest cetacean migration routes documented to date.

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