Ancient whale's choppers puts T. rex to shame

A new report in the July 1st issue of Nature unveils an extinct species of sperm whale that boasts teeth nearly 40 percent larger than those of Tyrannosaurus rex. The longest tooth of Leviathan melvillei measures an incredible 14 inches from tip to end of its root, compared to the longest tooth of Sue, the Chicago Field Museum's celebrated T. rex which measures in at a paltry 10.6 inches. Scientists at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris estimate L. melvillei was smaller than today's sperm whales, growing to lengths between 44 and 57 feet when it hunted the Earth's oceans 13 million years ago. But its enormous teeth would have certainly compensated for any size issues the creature suffered from. The way the teeth come together suggests Leviathan melvillei's jaws were used for tearing prey apart.

The toothy whale's remains (amounting to 75 percent of its jaw and cranium) were found a couple years ago in a now desert region of Peru.

Story in Nature
Wired story
Info about sperm whales

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I was a little disappointed when I saw that L. melvillei (this specimen, anyway) was smaller than modern sperm whales, because, you know, we like our prehistoric predators to be maximum scary, but here's something worth pointing out: not only are modern sperm whales' teeth about four inches shorter than L. melvillei's, they also tend to fall out. Sperm whales are hunters, but they don't seem to really use their teeth for capturing prey. So big, sharp, intact teeth are pretty cool. (And closer to maximum scary.)

posted on Wed, 06/30/2010 - 7:01pm
austin's picture
austin says:

that sounds just stupid to me it will never put the t rex in shame

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 1:02pm
MANDY's picture
MANDY says:

how do we stop anaimals from extinction when we have no way of being near them?

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 1:33pm

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