• Publications
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A bizarre new toothed mysticete (Cetacea) from Australia and the early evolution of baleen whales
  • E. Fitzgerald
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological…
  • 7 December 2006
The phylogenetic context of the new whale indicates that basal mysticetes were macrophagous predators that did not employ filter- feeding or echolocation, and that the evolution of characters associated with bulk filter-feeding was gradual.
The morphology and systematics of Mammalodon colliveri (Cetacea: Mysticeti), a toothed mysticete from the Oligocene of Australia
Toothed archaic mysticetes clearly employed diverse prey capture strategies, with exaptations for filter feeding evolving sequentially in stem group Mysticeti, and a stratigraphically calibrated phylogeny implies that the initial diversification of MysticETi occurred during the Late Eocene.
A behavioural framework for the evolution of feeding in predatory aquatic mammals
This work introduces a new framework that categorizes the feeding cycle of predatory aquatic mammals into four distinct functional stages, and details the feeding behaviours that can be employed at each stage, and proposes that the feeding strategies of living aquatic mammals form an evolutionary sequence that recalls the land-to-water transition of their ancestors.
Leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) use suction and filter feeding when hunting small prey underwater
Suction was used to draw small prey into the mouth followed by expulsion of ingested seawater through the sieve formed by postcanine teeth, confirming that the postcanines primarily serve a sieving function.
Suction feeding preceded filtering in baleen whale evolution
It is shown that tooth wear in a new Late Oligocene mysticete belonging to the putatively transitional family Aetiocetidae is inconsistent with the presence of baleen, and instead indicative of suction feeding, suggesting that balean arose much closer to the origin of toothless mysticete whales than previously thought.
An exceptional Devonian fish from Australia sheds light on tetrapod origins
New observations from the most complete, acid-prepared Devonian tetrapodomorph fish yet discovered, Gogonasus are presented, which was previously placed just crownward of Kenichthys and rhizodontids, the most primitive taxa on the tetrapOD lineage.
A review of the Tertiary fossil Cetacea (Mammalia) localities in Australia
Fitzgerald, E.M.G. 2004. A review of the Tertiary fossil Cetacea (Mammalia) localities in Australia. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 61(2): 183‐208. The stratigraphy, age, lithology, and vertebrate fauna
The maximum rate of mammal evolution
  • A. Evans, David Jones, M. Uhen
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 30 January 2012
An exponential increase in maximum mammal body mass during the 35 million years following the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event is found and a basic asymmetry in macroevolution is indicated: very large decreases can happen at more than 10 times the rate of increases.
Archaeocete-like jaws in a baleen whale
  • E. Fitzgerald
  • Environmental Science
    Biology Letters
  • 23 February 2012
Mandibles of the Oligocene toothed mysticete Janjucetus hunderi show that basal mysticetes had an archaeocete-like sutured symphysis, which demonstrates that increased oral capacity via rostral widening preceded the evolution of mandibular innovations for filter feeding.
Australian Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) Use Raptorial Biting and Suction Feeding When Targeting Prey in Different Foraging Scenarios
The behavioural flexibility displayed by Australian fur seals likely assists in capturing and consuming the extremely wide range of prey types that are targeted in the wild, during both benthic and epipelagic foraging.