Temporal range: Middle Miocene
|An artist's illustration of a mother Desmatophoca with a pup (below) along with Enaliarctos (above)|
Desmatophoca is an extinct genus of pinniped.
This poorly known fossil pinniped is a member of the true seal-like extinct pinniped family, the Desmatophocidae. Unlike modern true seals, it had a tail, although this was relatively short. It had large eyes, and presumably hunted by sight, and its ears do not appear to have been adapted for hearing underwater.
Desmatophoca oregonensis was one of the first known fossil pinnipeds from the west coast of North America, and it is now known by several skulls, jaws, and forelimb elements from the Oregon coast. It had lost the primitive shearing carnassials of older pinnipeds like Enaliarctos, which indicates that it was able to feed and ingest fish underwater without having to return to land.