These extinct primitive whales were once thought to be baby Basilosaurus.
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Pronunciation of scientific name
These animals were closely related to Basilosaurus, but they are shorter and more compact. When they were first found, in the same deposits as Basilosaurus, the two animals were so similar that at first Dorudon were thought to be baby Basilosaurus. They are, in fact, different species, and now baby Dorudon are also well known, whilst no one has yet found a baby Basilosaurus.
Dorudon are also known from North America as well as the Fayum deposits of Egypt.
They lived in the shallow warm seas around the world.
Dorudon fed on small fish and molluscs.
They are thought to have swum rather like modern dolphins, but they did not have the complex social system or echolocation of modern dolphins.
Large numbers of adult and baby Dorudon have been found in what was once a shallow bay in Egypt, suggesting that they gave birth in these protected areas.
This early cetacean (a member of the whale family) is a descendant of some of the early carnivorous hoofed animals via amphibious animals like Ambulocetus. They lived 40-36 million years ago.
Best place to see
Natural History Museum
An early relative of (but not an ancestor to) modern whales.