Pinnipeds appear to have diverged from their bear-like ancestors during the latest Oligocene. The earliest fossil pinniped that has been found is Enaliarctos, which lived 24 – 22 million years ago, at the boundary between the Oligocene and Miocene periods. It is believed to have been a good swimmer, but to have been able to move on land as well as in water, more like an otter than like modern pinnipeds.  DNA evidence suggests that all modern pinnipeds descend from a common ancestor that lived sometime in the earliest Miocene, possibly an Enaliarctos-like mammal (Wikipedia).


Photo provided by Corel with permission


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Suborder: Caniformia

Superfamily: Pinnipedia
(The word pinnipedia translates from Latin as "feather or fin foot," referring to their often large fin-like flippers.)

Family: Odobenidae
Walrus, Odobenus rosmarus
Imagotaria downsi (extinct)

Family: Otariidae
Northern Fur Seal, Callorhinus ursinus
Antarctic Fur Seal, Arctocephalus gazella
Guadalupe Fur Seal, Arctocephalus townsendi
Juan Fernandez Fur Seal, Arctocephalus philippii
Galapagos Fur Seal, Arctocephalus galapagoensis
Cape Fur Seal, Arctocephalus pusillus
New Zealand Fur Seal or Southern Fur Seal, Arctocephalus forsteri
Subantarctic Fur Seal, Arctocephalus tropicalis
South American Fur Seal, Arctocephalus australis
Steller's Sea Lion, Eumetopias jubatus
California Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
Japanese Sea Lion, Zalophus (californianus) japonicus - extinct (1950s)
South American Sea Lion, Otaria flavescens
Australian Sea Lion, Neophoca cinerea
New Zealand Sea Lion, Phocarctos hookeri

Family: Phocidae

Subfamily: Monachinae

Tribe: Monachini
Monachopsis (extinct)
Pristiphoca (extinct)
Properiptychus (extinct)
Messiphoca (extinct)
Mesotaria (extinct)
Callophoca (extinct)
Pliophoca (extinct)
Pontophoca (extinct)
Hawaiian Monk Seal, Monachus schauinslandi
Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus
Caribbean Monk Seal, Monachus tropicalis (probably extinct around 1950)

Tribe: Miroungini
Northern Elephant Seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Southern Elephant Seal, Mirounga leonina

Tribe: Lobodontini
Monotherium wymani (extinct)
Ross Seal, Ommatophoca rossi
Crabeater Seal, Lobodon carcinophagus
Leopard Seal, Hydrurga leptonyx
Weddell Seal, Leptonychotes weddellii
Swan-necked Seal, Acrophoca longirostris (extinct)
Piscophoca pacifica (extinct)
Homiphoca capensis (extinct)
Subfamily Phocinae
Kawas benegasorum (extinct)
Leptophoca lenis (extinct)
Preapusa (extinct)
Cryptophoca (extinct)
Bearded Seal, Erignathus barbatus
Hooded Seal, Cystophora cristata

Tribe: Phocini
Common Seal or Harbor Seal, Phoca vitulina
Spotted Seal or Larga Seal, Phoca largha
Ringed Seal, Pusa hispida (formerly Phoca hispida)
Nerpa or Baikal Seal, Pusa sibirica (formerly Phoca sibirica)
Caspian Seal, Pusa caspica (formerly Phoca caspica)
Harp Seal, Pagophilus groenlandica (formerly Phoca groenlandicus)
Ribbon Seal, Histriophoca fasciata (formerly Phoca fasciata)
Phocanella (extinct)
Platyphoca (extinct)
Gryphoca (extinct)
Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus

Fun Seal Facts
Important Terms
Diving Mammal Basics
Adaptations and Physiological Control
Possible Future Studies or Areas of Exploration
Literature Cited
External Links
Hot Topics in Animal Physiology

This website was created as a part of a class project in the
Animal Physiology Class at Davidson College.

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