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Temporal range: Zanclean – Recent [1]
Physeter macrocephalus - skeleton.jpg
Skeleton of a sperm whale, the only extant member of the genus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Physeteridae
Subfamily: Physeterinae
Genus: Physeter
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Physeter macrocephalus
Linnaeus, 1758

Physeter is a genus of toothed whales. There is only one living species in this genus: the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).[2] Some extremely poorly known fossil species have also been assigned to the same genus including Physeter antiquus (5.3 – 2.6 mya) from the Pliocene of France,[3] and Physeter vetus (2.6 mya – 12 ka) from the Quaternary of Georgia.[4] Physeter vetus is very likely an invalid species, as the few teeth that were used to identify this species appear to be identical to those of another toothed whale, Orycterocetus quadratidens.[5]


  1. ^ "Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus 1758 (sperm whale)". Fossilworks: Gateway to the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Physeter Linnaeus 1758 (sperm whale)". Fossilworks.
  3. ^ "Physeter antiquus Gervais 1849". Fossilworks.
  4. ^ "Physeter vetus Leidy 1869". Fossilworks.
  5. ^ Hay, Oliver Perry (1923). The Pleistocene of North America and Its Vertebrated Animals from the States East of the Mississippi River and from the Canadian Provinces East of Longitude 95. Carnegie Institution of Washington. p. 370. ISBN 9780598344724.