Fossil of the heaviest ancient whale ever found, weighing twice as much as the blue whale

The largest animal on Earth today is the blue whale, with adults said to weigh an average of about 100 tons. In addition, research on fossils found in Peru revealed that 40 million years ago there may have been an ancient whale living in the ocean with a huge body that was two to three times heavier than the blue whale.

A heavyweight early whale pushes the boundaries of vertebrate morphology | Nature

This colossal extinct whale was the heaviest animal to ever live | Live Science

Heaviest animal ever? Scientists discover massive ancient whale

The heaviest animal ever may be this ancient whale found in the Peruvian desert | AP News

This time, the scientific journal Nature has announced that there is a possibility that the heaviest animal in history is a member of the Basilosaurus family, a primitive whale that is estimated to have lived in the oceans about 40 million years ago. When Basilosaurus was first discovered, it was thought to be a dinosaur-like reptile, which is why it was given its scientific name, which means 'king of lizards.'

Archaeologists discovered the giant fossil in the desert of Ica province in southern Peru in 2006, but it took a long time to excavate it. This is because the fossil was so huge and dense that each vertebrae, the bones of the spine, weighed 150 kg.

In the end, 13 vertebrae, 4 ribs, and 1 hip bone were found, and the research group named the owner of the bones

Percetus colossus , which means 'Giant Peruvian Whale.' Ta.

Below is a skeletal diagram of Percetus colossus, showing the positions of the hip bones, vertebrae, and ribs from the left.

It is estimated that Percetus colossus is about 20 meters long, which is huge, but not as long as the blue whale, which can grow up to 30 meters.

What is noteworthy is its weight: its skeleton alone weighs 5 to 7 tons, which is two to three times that of a blue whale. Furthermore, its entire body weighed up to 340 tons, making it the heaviest known animal. By comparison, the largest known blue whale ever weighed only 199 tons.

Percetus colossus is thought to have lived in shallow coastal waters, using this ultra-dense skeleton as ballast to dive and drift slowly near the ocean floor like a manatee. However, no fossilized heads or teeth have been found, so it is unknown what they ate. The researchers said it was probably foraging on the ocean floor or feeding on small sea creatures such as krill.

This research not only sets a new record for animal weight, but also has the potential to completely change common knowledge about whale evolution. That's because it means early whales reached their maximum weight limit 30 million years earlier than previously thought.

'Percetus colossus completely changes our understanding of cetacean evolution and extreme gigantism,' said lead author Eli Amson of the National Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany. did.

in Science,   Creature, Posted by log1l_ks