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Livyatan melvillei
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By PrehistoryByLiam   |   Watch
Published: January 7, 2019
Finished reconstruction of the massive raptorial sperm whale Livyatan melvillei, a serious contender for best name for an extinct animal (biblical Leviathan + Herman Melville, author of 'Moby Dick') and one of my favorite Cenozoic creatures. It lived during the Miocene epoch about 10 million years ago, and with some huge teeth was well-adapted for hunting medium-sized whales near the ocean surface.  I looked at pictures of living sperm whales to get the right look for the eye and the overall texture of the skin, scars abound. Pretty happy with this one, it's been on my "wish list" for a while now. 

Somewhat related, I'd like to share literally one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read, from a twitter threadby Nate Crowley about modern sperm whales:

"Having a think about sperm whales this morning. Specifically, how they routinely make one of the most nightmarish journeys imaginable as part of the ordinary business of living. 
For a start, imagine living in a world with no edges - no floor, no ceiling, no walls, and barely ever something large or tangible enough to even bump into. Just water.
And then, when you need to eat, you raise the back end of your body and you begin swimming down. Just... down. Into a place so preposterously hostile to air-breathing life that it scares us just to think about.
But they just angle their big, battering-ram heads down and plough into it. Until the light vanishes and the temperature plunges and every space inside them crinkles into dense, wet nothing with the pressure.
They can spend ninety minutes down there. Ninety minutes in the gelid, crushing blackness, their every muscle dense as wood and black with myoglobin - a sixty tonne sarcophagus keeping a mammal's brain alive.
And then they fight. They hunt out creatures we can only comprehend through tired references to old horror stories, and they rip them apart. Arms as long as trees lash out as they die, hooked suckers carving scars that will never leave.
But the whales crush the monsters in jaws longer than you are tall, gulping down mounds of frigid, ammoniac jelly in a slurry of icy brine and marine snow. They have broken into hell and they have eaten the demons.
And then they make their way slowly back into the light. Back to where the sun snakes through the water, and to the sound of birds. And there they roll, grey bodies scored with years and years of scars, nudging and bumping each other.
And so they go on. Not because they are brave, or curious, or pioneering - but because evolution has simultaneously damned them to daily katabasis, and given them the monstrous power to overcome it." -Nate Crowley

Gives me chills every time.

Sources:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livyatan
www.deviantart.com/christopher…
twitter.com/FrogCroakley/statu…

Image size
10000x5000px 14.16 MB
Comments41
anonymous's avatar
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Thalassophoneus's avatar
ThalassophoneusNew Deviant
Probably the most believable reconstruction of this animal I have seen. It kinda looks like a giant Kogia.
TheHarpyEagle's avatar
Excellent artwork and that is a fantastic piece of writing, thank you for bringing it to my attention.
YellowPanda2001's avatar
YellowPanda2001Hobbyist Digital Artist
So cute! Indeed we are done with scary Livyatan.
herofan135's avatar
herofan135Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh wow, amazing reconstruction!
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you very much!
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you!
RedRavenRiot's avatar
RedRavenRiotHobbyist General Artist
whale, whale, whale, what do we have here?
Dontknowwhattodraw94's avatar
Dontknowwhattodraw94Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That gives indeed the chills. You can't beat nature in epicness.
Nice work as always!
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you so much! I absolutely love all of your cetaceans
Dontknowwhattodraw94's avatar
Dontknowwhattodraw94Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome and thanks a lot!
TutTutTut's avatar
One impressive beasty
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks!
TheDinoDrawer66's avatar
TheDinoDrawer66Hobbyist General Artist
Now That is astounding! A truly remarkable animal!
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you so much! I agree
TheDinoDrawer66's avatar
TheDinoDrawer66Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed as well! Can wait what you make next.
Libra1010's avatar
 Another superb illustration!Nod 
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you so much!
Libra1010's avatar
 Thank You for continuing to share such excellent illustrations with us!:happybounce: 
acepredator's avatar
Who would win: The most formidable predatory tetrapod that ever lived, with the largest teeth of any predator in earth history, or the largest shark that ever lived, an animal that lasted over 15 million years as a single species and outlasted most of its rivals?

Answer: starvation.
D-Juan's avatar
D-JuanStudent General Artist
That twitter thread gave me chills. To think relativelly intelligent animals endure such an alien daily life...

And about this beast here, it is also a badass creature for completely different reasons...
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
I agree completely
damouraptor's avatar
damouraptorStudent Digital Artist
Modern sperm whales are a marvel in their own right, so imagine what this leviathan had to do to survive with the largest shark ever known by its side
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Exactly. I prefer Livyatan to Megalodon by like a mile 
anonymous's avatar
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