Largest Sperm Whale Skull Fossil Found Off Peruvian Coast

July 06, 2010
Blog Image

Paleontologists digging near the coast of Peru have uncovered the 12-million-year-old skull of a now-extinct species of sperm whale.

The skull, which measures nearly 10 feet across, belonged to a genus and species of sperm whale that may have been up to 57 feet long and includes the longest documented sperm whale teeth, measuring more than 14 fearsome inches.

Study members speculate that the creature was certainly a top predator, probably occupying the same ecological niche of the living killer whale. Modern sperm whales may grow to about the same size as Leviathan melvillei, but they dive deep into the ocean to feed on squid using suction. The older whale, on the other hand, may have used its sharp teeth to rip into mid-size baleen whales.

Read the full story in the LA Times.