Perucetus colossus

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Recently, researchers have discovered fossils of the Perucetus colossus whale in Peru.

About Perucetus colossus:


  • Based on a newly-described fossil of the whale Perucetus colossus dating to more than 38 million years ago.
  • Scientists believe that it may have been heavier than a blue whale even though it may not have been as long.
  • Researchers guess that the species weighed between 85 and a simply massive 340 tonnes.
  • The animal’s bones had an unusually large volume and were also extremely dense.
  • This combination of thickening and densification of bones is called pachyosteosclerosis.
  • The characteristic is absent in living whales, dolphins and porpoise. But it is present in sirenians, a marine mammal group that includes sea cows.
  • Whales that dive deep typically have the ability to completely empty their lungs to plummet into the depths of the ocean but P. colossus probably lived in shallow coastal areas.
  • This would mean that it probably dived with air in its lungs. But diving with air in the lungs would make it quite difficult to stay near the seafloor—that is where the very heavy bones come in.
  • The skeletal mass of P. colossus would have been between five and eight tons, which is twice that of the blue whale.


Q1) What are Vertebrates?

Vertebrates are a subphylum of animals within the phylum Chordata. They are characterized by the presence of a backbone or vertebral column, which is a series of individual bones (vertebrae) that surround and protect the spinal cord.

Source: Newly-discovered extinct whale may have been the heaviest animal ever