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orhiza had a 97.2-centimeter (38.3 in) long skull that measured 42.5 centimeters (16.7 in) at its widest point, and a total body length of around 4.8 meters (16 ft), making it the largest known toothed whale from the Oligocene epoch. In the early Miocene, greater lengths were attained by physeteroids (the ancestral group including modern sperm whales) within this group of whales.
Ankylorhiza's skull was relatively elongated, and had the largest temporal fossae (shallow depressions on the sides of the skull) of any known toothed whale; they composed 24% of the skull's total length and 36% of its width at the rear. Each side of Ankylorhiza's upper jaw bore 13 teeth; three incisors, one canine, and nine postcanines. Between the first canine and the fifth postcanine tooth, the maxilla (main upper jaw bone) became thicker and formed bony supports divided by deep furrows between each tooth, which would have helped the animal's dentition precisely interlock when it closed its jaws. Ankylorhiza's sharp-tipped teeth had carinae (cutting edges) on both edges that bore occasional serrations, and its tooth enamel was adorned with lengthwise ridges. The lower incisors in the upper jaw were tusk-like and angled forwards.
The morphology of Ankylorhiza's forelimbs was between that of basal (early-diverging or "primitive") and living cetaceans. Ankylorhiza's humerus (upper arm bone) had an enlarged head and flattened attachment sites for the ulna and radius (lower arm bones), as well as a shaft that was short relative to those of basilosaurids, but still longer than in extant toothed whales. In comparison to modern toothed whales, the hands and fingers were much longer. In the spinal column, the vertebrae (backbones) at the base of the tail formed a more rigid structure than in earlier cetaceans, while the lumbar region–consisting of vertebrae between the rib cage and pelvis—was very flexible. The height and width of the vertebral centra (bodies of the vertebrae) increase in height from the back of the chest to the basal part of the tail, with the second caudal (tail) vertebra being the tallest and broadest, indicating this region of the body experienced the most undulation when the animal was swimmi
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