'Sea monster' fossil unearthed

"Researchers have discovered the fossilised remains of an ancient whale with huge, fearsome teeth!"

BBC reports:
Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists have dubbed the 12 million-year-old creature "Leviathan". It was much like the modern sperm whale in terms of size and appearance. But that is where the similarity ends. While the sperm whale is a relatively passive animal, sucking in squid from the depths of the ocean, Leviathan was an aggressive predator.

According to Dr Christian de Muizon, director of the Natural History Museum in Paris, Leviathan could have hunted out and fed on large sea creatures such as dolphins, seals and even other whales. "It was a kind of a sea monster," he said. "And it's interesting to note that at the same time in the same waters was another monster, which was a giant shark about 15m long. It's possible that they might have fought each other".

The researchers speculate that Leviathan was able to feed on very large prey up to 8m long. It would catch the prey in its huge jaws and tear it apart quickly and effectively with its giant teeth. The Leviathan skull was discovered in 12 million year-old sediments in Peru.

Now, the discovery of the skull means that the Leviathan is not merely the stuff of myth and legend. "Finally we found it," said Dr Lambert. " It was a very exciting moment". READ MORE




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