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Gigantic Prehistoric Whale Tooth Discovered In Australia: Five Million Years Old, Bigger Than T-Rex Fangs

First Posted: Apr 26, 2016 06:20 AM EDT
Sperm Whale Caudal Fin
The caudal fin of a living species of sperm whale can be seen here. Recently, a gigantic fossilized tooth of a five million years old extinct species of whale was found in Australia.
(Photo : vbernhard/Pixabay)

A five million years old massive fossilized whale tooth was recently discovered in Australia, according to reports. The tooth was found to be bigger than those of a Tyrannosaurus rex; in fact it is the largest tooth to have been ever discovered in the continent. The discovery of the gigantic fossil suggests that super-huge killer sperm whales once inhabited Australia's waters.

The fossilized tooth, measuring 30 centimeters in length and weighing three kilograms, was speculated to have belonged to a prehistoric species of sperm whales that would have been around 18 meters in length with a body weight of 40 tons. The gigantic tooth was discovered by a local fossil enthusiast at Beaumaris Bay, a well known fossil site in Melbourne's south east area.

"I saw what I thought was a drink can sticking out of the sand and I went to grab that" said Murray Orr, the man who made the huge discovery. "I had to shift a few rocks off top and out popped a tooth. I knew this was an important find that needed to be shared with everyone". Orr donated the fossilized find to the Museum Victoria in Melbourne.

According to Dr Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Museum Victoria, the discovery provides evidence that the predatory ocean giants lived outside of the Americas. The tooth has been dated back to the Pliocene era with an approximate age of five million years. According to the paleontologist, the gigantic tooth belonged to a killer sperm whale species that was closely related to the massive Livyatan melvillei from Peru. It has been suggested that the predatory giant preyed upon whales and other large animals, unlike the present sperm whales that live on fish and squid.

 Incidentally, the 12-13 million years old fossil remains of a Livyatan melvillei or the Leviathan whale was first discovered in 2008 in a Peruvian desert.  Based on the findings, which included 36-centimetre-long teeth and jaw fragments, researchers had concluded that the bite force was lethal enough to crush the bones of preys like baleen whales. As per Dr Fitzgerald, the living population of sperm whales is in fact different from most species of prehistoric whales for the past 20 million years in their choice of food. The ancient giants preyed on smaller whales unlike the species found today.

 

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