Open main menu

Paleoparadoxia ("ancient paradox") is a genus of large, herbivorous aquatic mammals that inhabited the northern Pacific coastal region during the Miocene epoch (20 to 10 million years ago). It ranged from the waters of Japan (Tsuyama and Yanagawa), to Alaska in the north, and down to Baja California, Mexico. Paleoparadoxia was about 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in) long.[5]

Temporal range: Miocene
Paleoparadoxia Skeleton.jpg
P. tabatai
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Desmostylia
Family: Paleoparadoxiidae
Genus: Paleoparadoxia
Type species
Paleoparadoxia tabatai

P. media Inuzuka 2005[3]
P. tabatai Tokunaga 1939[4]



Paleoparadoxia is thought to have fed primarily on seaweeds and sea grasses. The jaws and the angle of the teeth resemble a backhoe bucket. Its bulky body was well adapted for swimming and underwater foraging. Originally interpreted as amphibious, Paleoparadoxia is now thought to have been a fully marine mammal like their living relatives, the sirenians, spending most of their lives walking across the sea bottom like marine hippos.[6] Studies on its habitat preference show that it favoured deep, offshore waters.[7]

Tokunaga 1939 named the genus Cornwallius but Reinhart 1959 synonymized it as a species of Paleoparadoxia.[8]

See alsoEdit


Restoration of P. tabatai
  1. ^ Paleoparadoxiidae in the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved March 2013.
  2. ^ Paleoparadoxia in the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved March 2013.
  3. ^ Paleoparadoxia media in the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved March 2013.
  4. ^ "Yoshiwara, Shigeyasu". Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  5. ^ Kemp 2005, p. 254
  6. ^ Hayashi et al. 2013
  7. ^ Kumiko Matsui; Katsuo Sashida; Sachiko Agematsu; Naoki Kohno (1 April 2017). "Habitat preferences of the enigmatic Miocene tethythere Desmostylus and Paleoparadoxia (Desmostylia; Mammalia) inferred from the depositional depth of fossil occurrences in the Northwestern Pacific realm". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (471): 254–265. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.02.005. ISSN 0031-0182.
  8. ^ "OPINION 2232 (Case 3384) Cornwallius tabatai Tokunaga, 1939 (currently Paleoparadoxia tabatai; Mammalia, Desmostylia): proposed designation of a neotype not accepted". ICZN. Retrieved 11 March 2013.