Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thar she blows!

Olivier Lambert, a Belgian scientist, has discovered a new species of whale, a prehistoric sperm whale. Unlike its modern cousin, this whale would prey on other whales.

"Leviathan melvillei, named after the Biblical sea monster and the author of Moby Dick, was a giant sperm whale that has just been discovered by Belgian scientist Olivier Lambert. At between 13.5 and 18.5 metres in length, it was no bigger than the modern sperm whale, but it was clearly far more formidable.
Today’s sperm whale has no functional teeth in its upper jaw and only small ones in its lower jaw (which are mostly used in fights). It feeds through suction, relying on a rush of water to carry its prey into its open mouth. But Leviathan’s mouth was full of huge teeth, the largest of which were a foot long and around 4 inches wide. This was no suction feeder! Leviathan clearly grabbed its prey with a powerful bite, inflicting deep wounds and tearing off flesh as killer whales do, but with a skull three times bigger."

Head over to Not Exactly Rocket Science to continue reading about these killer whales.


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