Leviathan

by Kiko Matsing

The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru; Olivier Lambert, Giovanni Bianucci, Klaas Post, Christian de Muizon, Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, Mario Urbina & Jelle Reumer; Nature 466, 105-108 (1 July 2010)

Here we report the discovery of a new giant sperm whale from the Middle Miocene of Peru (approximately 12–13 million years ago), Leviathan melvillei, described on the basis of a skull with teeth and mandible. With a 3-m-long head, very large upper and lower teeth (maximum diameter and length of 12 cm and greater than 36 cm, respectively), robust jaws and a temporal fossa considerably larger than in Physeter [macrocephalus or modern giant sperm whale], this stem physeteroid represents one of the largest raptorial predators and, to our knowledge, the biggest tetrapod bite ever found.

from the Book of Job (Chapter 41):

Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down his tongue with a rope?

Can you put a cord through his nose
or pierce his jaw with a hook?…

Can you fill his hide with harpoons
or his head with fishing spears?…

Who dares open the doors of his mouth,
ringed about with his fearsome teeth?…

He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.

Behind him he leaves a glistening wake;
one would think the deep had white hair.

Nothing on earth is his equal—
a creature without fear.

He looks down on all that are haughty;
he is king over all that are proud.

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