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From eating other whales to terrorizing the
sea,, here are 10 amazing facts about the Livyatan Melvillei- the deadliest whale to
ever live! 10. Megalodon, Beware! Dating the remains that have been found of
Livyatan Melvillei show that it lived in the world’s oceans about 13 million years ago,
during the Miocene epoch. It was by far the largest predatory whale
of its time! During the Miocene epoch, the ocean was full
of huge and varied species that provided the Livyatan with plenty to feast on. It would, however, have had a mighty foe in
the waters in the form of the Megalodon! It is believed that these creatures overlapped
at some point and lived at around the same time. The mega shark was a similar size to the Livyatan
and, while its thought unlikely that the two would have hunted each other, it’s quite
possible that they came up against one another in the pursuit of prey. Most experts think, for a number of reasons
that the Livyatan would have come out victorious if this ever happened. 9. How big were they? Livyatan Melvillei was a legendary whale of
prehistoric times that was a ferocious predator of the oceans but, surprisingly, it was quite
a modest size- growing to be between 45 and 60 feet in length. And they weighed about 50 tons- that’s the
same as 6 elephants! They were about the same size as a sperm whale,
but nowhere near the huge 100 feet that a blue whale can reach. After all, it is the largest creature to have
ever lived! This doesn’t mean, however, that the Livyatan
Melvillei was in any way comparable to a sperm whale, though- they were far more dangerous
and deadly than any whale that’s alive today. 8. Where did it live? The first confirmed discovery of Livyatan
Melvillei remains was made in 12 million-year-old sediments of the Pisco formation in southern
Peru. It’s a region that, because of various geological
processes, isn’t the best for fossil discovery. But it is a site that’s well known for the
discovery of a number of ancient whale species, some predating Livyatan by tens of millions
of years, and also giant prehistoric penguins, like the Inkayacu and Icadyptes, that were
the same size as humans! The Livyatan, therefore, roamed the waves
around South America but is thought to have lived in similar territories that sperm whales
live in today. Some evidence has suggested they made it to
North America, and the remains of close relatives have been found as far away as Australia-
meaning their reach could have been throughout the shallower coastal regions of the entire
world. They weren’t thought to have favored deep
waters, though, mainly because food was in much more plentiful supply in the warmer,
shallower areas. And now for number 7, but first be sure to
subscribe if you are new here, we have lots of new videos coming up!! If you are a returning subscriber, welcome
back!! 7. Whale Ancestors Livyatan Melvillei were the ancestors to all
of the toothed whales that still exist today, and share a number of recognizable features. They are classed as ‘physeteroids’, which
are a family of whales that stretch back in the fossil record about 20 million years!! There have been a number of different species
of physeteroid that have, like the Livyatan, gone extinct… such as the Acrophyseter and
the Brygmophyseter, but there’s 3 that have survived through to today. Do you know what they are? Leave your guess in the comments below!! The answer is coming up!! As you’ll find out, characteristics such
as structures within their skulls, their size, and the fact that they have teeth in their
mouths are still present… but everything else about the Livyatan was very, very different
to the whales we see today. 6. How did they hunt? Living at such competitive times for food,
Livyatan Melvillei were well adapted to hunting at sea. Like other species, they had a large forehead,
which contains what is known as a ‘spermaceti organ’, which is full of wax and oil reservoirs
with connective tissue. This organ’s ability to harden when needed
is the way that whales are believed to be able to withstand the pressures involved in
diving to such depths, but many believe the Livyatan used it for a different purpose-
as a battering ram. These ancient whales existed before Sperm
whales species began diving deep to hunt squid and, with such a wealth of prey near the surface,
it had no need to. Instead, they incapacitated large prey by
ramming into it, which would have given them a massive advantage. This use of the spermaceti organ has even
been seen in recent times, with at least two 19th century whaling ships having been sunk
when male whales punched holes in their sides, which adds further credence to the idea that
this was their normal behavior. But, even without all that, they had giant
teeth about 15 inches long. It’s mouth was about 9 feet long and 7 feet
wide, with their teeth placed perfectly for grabbing and ripping out flesh. They had powerful biting muscles and fossil
hunters from Europe wrote an article called The Giant Bite, with good reason! It had the largest bite of any tetrapod. Based on all of this, plus the fact that it
had a bigger brain, it would have been smart and quick to react so most prey didn’t stand
a chance!! It basically ate other whales for breakfast!! 5. The Name Leviathan is a type of dragon or sea monster
referenced in the Bible. This massive and swift serpent is believed
to come from ancient myth and was defeated by God and then given as food to the Hebrews
in the wilderness. When the first report about the whale’s
discovery was published in 2010, its genus was named after the English name of the legendary
monster, the Leviathan, along with the species name, melvillei, in honour of Herman Melville,
who wrote Moby Dick- the story of Captain Ahab’s obsession with hunting a giant sperm
whale. However, soon after the report was published
it was pointed out to the authors that the name ‘Leviathan’ had already been used
to describe a type of obscure mastodon, so they had to change it, even though it was
perfect! In order to correct it, it’s genus is known
by the original Hebrew name of the legendary monster, the Livyatan, while retaining their
ode to the author. 4. Fossil Remains While researchers know quite a lot about the
Livyatan, most of this is information that has been deduced based upon their knowledge
of how similar animals behaved. So far, only the remains of the Livyatan’s
head have ever been found. In 2008, on the last day of a paleontological
dig in the Pisco-Ica desert in Peru, scientists discovered a large cetacean skull. The enormous teeth told them that they had
found the leviathan. From this skull, it’s clear where the spermaceti
organ would have been, but there are a number of interesting differences to the sperm whales
of today. It actually much more resembles that of a
killer whale, although being about three times larger. Its mouth was full of teeth, which means it
probably hunted in a similar way to how killer whales do and had a huge temporal fossa, which
is the depression found on the side of the skull. This is where the jaw muscles are, which means
it’s bit would have been incredibly powerful- far more so than the sperm whales of today. 3. What did they eat? As we’ve seen, the Livyatan was an incredibly
efficient hunting machine. They used echolocation to target their prey,
and could use their head as a battering ram against larger creatures, and their strong
jaws to tear at flesh. This meant that virtually anything that lived
in the ocean was potential prey of the Livyatan- with the only exception being organisms that
were too small for it to care about. So short answer of what did they eat? Everything. The bigger the better! Being at the top of the food chain, they would
have had to consume huge amounts every day- and their diet is thought to have primarily
consisted of other large blubbery whale species, dolphins, and seals. It would, most likely, have taken on anything
that it was able to catch, since it was probably hungry all the time. It was able to reach speeds of up to 31 miles
per hour when needed, so nothing was safe. Shark species, including the Megalodon, and
other large fish would have been just as appealing- which is a far cry from the sperm whales of
today whose diet consists mainly of plankton. Humans wouldn’t have stood a chance if we
were around at the same time as the Livyatan, as their huge heads meant they would have
been able to swallow us whole… we would have been no more than just an appetizer for
this giant! 2. Why did they die out? The Livyatan lived at the same time as a number
of other large ocean predators- which is no coincidence. It was a time when life in the sea was abundant,
and there was plenty of food to sustain populations of such large creatures. This environment that let the Livyatan, and
the Megalodon, thrive, was also what ultimately led to their downfall. We don’t know precisely when they went extinct,
but at the end of the Miocene epoch, the planet experienced a period of change which saw fluctuating
ocean temperatures and currents. This would have drastically impacted the numbers
of dolphins, seals, smaller whales, and other animals lower down the food chain which, in
turn, meant that the apex predators had a rapidly dwindling food supply. Livyatan would have been forced to move to
shallower regions where there was more food but, in the end, there just wouldn’t have
been enough to survive. The huge amount of food required to sustain
large carnivores is one of the main reasons why no such creatures exist today. Those that prey solely on meat tend to be
much leaner and size efficient in order to cope with changing conditions- with the largest
animals being ones that are able to continually feed on vegetation. And now for number 1, but for those of you
who guessed, the 3 physeteroids alive today are the the Pygmy Sperm whale, the Dwarf Sperm
Whale, and the full-sized Sperm Whale. So if you said Sperm Whale, you win!! 1. What big teeth you have! When talking about animals with giant teeth,
you’d probably think of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Sabre-Toothed Tiger, or maybe even
the Megalodon…. But the Livyatan had the largest teeth in
its mouth of any known creature- they grew to a massive 14 inches long. T-Rex teeth, in comparison, would reach up
to 12 inches, Sabretooth teeth grew to 11 inches, and the largest Megalodon teeth that
have ever been found are just under 8 inches long. Interestingly this doesn’t mean they had the
deadliest teeth, though. Despite being so large, the teeth of other
animals can be considerably sharper than those of the Leviathan. It was the combination of the size and the
power of their jaw that meant that they could cause extreme damage. Theirs was the biggest bite of any whale species
that has ever lived, and one of the deadliest of any creature to live in the world’s oceans. Thanks for watching!! Remember to subscribe before you leave and
see you soon! Byeeee!!

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