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Livyatan melvillei by PrehistoryByLiam Livyatan melvillei by PrehistoryByLiam
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…

Add a Comment:
 
:icontheharpyeagle:
TheHarpyEagle Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2019
Excellent artwork and that is a fantastic piece of writing, thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Reply
:iconyellowpanda2001:
YellowPanda2001 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2019  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
So cute! Indeed we are done with scary Livyatan.
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:iconherofan135:
herofan135 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2019  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh wow, amazing reconstruction!
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much!
Reply
:iconliopurodon4x:
Liopurodon4x Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2019
this is good
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconredravenriot:
RedRavenRiot Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
whale, whale, whale, what do we have here?
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:icondontknowwhattodraw94:
Dontknowwhattodraw94 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That gives indeed the chills. You can't beat nature in epicness.
Nice work as always!
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much! I absolutely love all of your cetaceans
Reply
:icondontknowwhattodraw94:
Dontknowwhattodraw94 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome and thanks a lot!
Reply
:icontuttuttut:
TutTutTut Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019
One impressive beasty
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconthedinodrawer66:
TheDinoDrawer66 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Now That is astounding! A truly remarkable animal!
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much! I agree
Reply
:iconthedinodrawer66:
TheDinoDrawer66 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Indeed as well! Can wait what you make next.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019
 Another superb illustration!Nod 
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019
 Thank You for continuing to share such excellent illustrations with us!:happybounce: 
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019
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.
Reply
:icond-juan:
D-Juan Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Student 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...
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
I agree completely
Reply
:icondamouraptor:
damouraptor Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Student 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
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Exactly. I prefer Livyatan to Megalodon by like a mile 
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:iconovleg:
Ovleg Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2019
Probably because you don't realize how megalodon is an unique animal in many ways. People : "just a big shark". It's not only that. And the realistic upper size estimates of megatooth still exceed those of any killer sperm whale.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019
While I find the whale more interesting (given that the orca is the only cetacean to hunt relatively large animals while the Miocene has tons of raptorial cetaceans), I honestly don’t get the hype behind why this animal is supposed to be the animal that defeated megalodon.

Even “educational” media like PBS Eons claim this was a newcomer that unseated the giant shark, even though a) raptorial cetaceans were around since the Eocene and were old competitors for otodontid sharks, and b) raptorial physeteroids boy the dust a bit before the giant shark did.
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
I've never heard of any claim that Livyatan "unseated" Megalodon, other than that they *may* have competed for resources. And I'd argue modern sperm whales hunt pretty big prey. I'm not a big fan of "who would win" scenarios & that kind of thing
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:iconovleg:
Ovleg Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2019
And it's true raptorial sperm whales go extinct quite a bit before megalodon.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019
If you’re talking about by comment up there, it’s a freaking joke. It pokes fun at how starvation (due to loss of cetotheres as a prey base) was the real cause of demise for Megalodon and probably for this whale as well.
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:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Lol no I know that was a joke, but the issue you're addressing *in the joke* is what I'm referring to. Like evolution has boss battles or something
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019
It’s actually quite a common claim (even in one documentary!) that this animal was at least partly why C. Megalodon went extinct due to it being “superior”.

When in reality that couldn’t have happened unless this whale could use a time machine.
Reply
:iconropen7789:
ropen7789 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Student Traditional Artist
Mio (Scared) [V2]  The one cenozoic marine animal that even Megalodon fears.
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:iconovleg:
Ovleg Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2019
No evidence for this. If anything megalodon seemingly got slightly larger. Sharks don't fear cetaceans their own size or smaller.
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:iconropen7789:
ropen7789 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2019  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for letting me know ^^
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019
......no. The two were equals, and the shark outlasted it and other raptorial sperm whales (if only by a couple million years).
Reply
:iconropen7789:
ropen7789 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019  Student Traditional Artist
EqG Twilight (Embarassed) Plz Oops 
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:iconjakearmorsmith:
JakeArmorSmith Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's adorable
Reply
:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconbh1324:
bh1324 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019
That's one big marine goat :D
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:icondromaeus:
Dromaeus Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2019
Amazing!^-^
Reply
:iconprehistorybyliam:
PrehistoryByLiam Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much!
Reply
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