Palaeontologists have unearthed the fossilized remains of what could be the heaviest creature that ever lived.
At an average weight of 150 tons, the blue whale is undoubtedly the heaviest animal alive today, but now palaeontologists have dug up the remains of a prehistoric behemoth that might have been even heavier – a huge seaborne mammal known as Perucetus colossus.
This gargantuan creature lived in the oceans some 39 million years ago and weighed around 200 tons, equivalent to 33 elephants – making it the heaviest beast ever to exist on Earth.
18 bones were found in total – 13 vertebrae, four ribs and a partial hip bone – at a site in Peru.
These bones were considerably denser than those of today’s whales, thus contributing to the weight.
Researchers believe that Perucetus
likely foraged for food in shallow waters a bit like modern-day manatees.
“What we like to say is that Perucetus is in the same ball park as the blue whale,” Dr Eli Amson of Germany’s State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart told BBC News.
“But there’s no reason to think that our individual was particularly big or small; it was likely just part of the general population.”