Both biologists and palaeontologists use a system of classifying animals that was
introduced by the Swedish zoologist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778). Using a hierarchically
organised set of groups (in ascending order:
evolutionary relationships between animals can be made visible.
Cetaceans are animals, vertebrates (or in a somewhat broader sense, chordates) and
mammals, and thus fall into the kingdom 'Animalia', the phylum 'Chordata' and the class
'Mammalia'. Within the mammals, they are now grouped together with the artiodactyls (even-toed
hoofed animals like cows, pigs or hippos) in the order 'Cetartiodactyla'.
Finally, scientists distinguish between three cetacean suborders:
Please follow the links for an in-depth description of the three groups and their evolutionary history.