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 The original killer whale

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PostSubject: The original killer whale   Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:42 pm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100630/ap_on_sc/eu_whale_fossil

Scientists have discovered an ancient

whale whose bite ripped huge chunks of flesh out of other whales about 12 million years ago and they've named it after the author of "Moby d**k."

The

prehistoric sperm whale grew to between 13 and 18 meters (up to 60 feet) long, not unusual by today's standards. But unlike modern sperm whales, Leviathan melvillei, named for Herman Melville, sported vicious, tusk-like teeth some 36 centimeters (14 inches) long.

The ancient beast evidently dined on other whales, researchers said in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. They report finding a

skull of the beast in a Peruvian desert.

The researchers named it in tribute to the 19th-century author and his classic tale of the

great white whale, which includes frequent digressions on natural history that punctuate the action.

"There is a chapter about fossils," one of the paper's authors, Olivier Lambert of the

Natural History Museum in Paris, said. "Melville even mentions some of the fossils that I studied for my PhD thesis."

Anthony Friscia, a

paleontologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who wasn't involved in the discovery, said scattered finds of huge fossilized teeth had long hinted at the ancient whale's existence. But without a skull to fit them in, the creature's shape, size and feeding habits remained a mystery.

"The fact that they have found the entire

jaw well, almost the entire skull is what's pretty unprecedented," he said.

The ancient beasts "were the killer whales of their time, although on a much grander scale," Friscia said. "They were close to the biggest things around."

Friscia said he thought the choice of a name was fantastic.

"You gotta love any time you get a nod to literature in taxonomy," he said. "It was a big whale, so why not?"
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PostSubject: Re: The original killer whale   Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:49 pm

It makes me giggle when people say they go to sea world to see the lovely friendly Shamu.
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PostSubject: Re: The original killer whale   Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:52 pm

Or when when they see a dolphin and immediately think of Flipper. Dolphins are vicious creatures just like Orcas.

The artistic rendering reminds me of Jaws.

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PostSubject: Re: The original killer whale   Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:13 pm

^^ Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: The original killer whale   Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:26 pm

I feel the same way, people always marvel at whales and dolphins, saying how "beautiful" and "majestic" they are. Granted they are amazing because of how complex, intelligent and powerful they are, but since they are on so many mental and genetic levels similar to humans, they are also capable of the same terrible things we are. Prejudice towards various other sea mammals, rape of their own species, rape of other species (including humans), slavery, murder for fun, war, etc.

Do any of you know the Aquatic-Ape theory? It's something I find extremely interesting, but like most explanations of our human history, I don't place to much faith in it. But as a theory, its' compelling and really interesting.
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