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Livyatan melvillei head detail
By PrehistoryByLiam   |   Watch
115 10 915 (1 Today)
Published: January 7, 2019
Head detail 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. 
Full reconstruction: www.deviantart.com/prehistoryb…

Somewhat, related, I'd like to share literally one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read, from a twitter thread by 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
2792x1394px 4.74 MB
Comments10
anonymous's avatar
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Braindroppings1's avatar
Braindroppings1Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nice!
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thank ya
Evodolka's avatar
EvodolkaHobbyist Traditional Artist
what a cute face :meow:
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks lol
Evodolka's avatar
EvodolkaHobbyist Traditional Artist
your welcome :meow:
TheWatcherofWorlds's avatar
TheWatcherofWorldsStudent Digital Artist
Its kind of awesome how eyes are a lot of the times dwarfed the bigger the animal its attatched to is.
PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
True, but their eyes are still huge compared to smaller animals
TheWatcherofWorlds's avatar
TheWatcherofWorldsStudent Digital Artist
Oh yeah definitely.

But I'm talking proportionally, since they rarely need to be bigger than they need to be unless they rely on it for living.

I mean like, an elephant doesn't need powerful sight cause it's a plant eater and can communicate by sound, and whales just use echolocation but then most other sea animals do like seals and sharks with large pupils.

I think its a marine adaptation to have powerful eyes, since sunlight is more common and pretty strong on land, something like a T Rex has really strong sight but its not exaggerated much.

Eyes are pretty amazing organs.

PrehistoryByLiam's avatar
PrehistoryByLiamProfessional Digital Artist
True. But with eyes, absolute size matters more than proportional size. Tyrannosaurus has eyes that are proportionally very small, but its eyesight far surpasses that of modern hawks and eagles. Powerful eyes can be found underwater, but I don't think they're any less prevalent among terrestrial animals. In low light conditions like the deep sea, some predators rely on other senses (sperm whales for example rely on echolocation and sound as much, if not more than, their vision when hunting). 
TheWatcherofWorlds's avatar
TheWatcherofWorldsStudent Digital Artist
Yeah yeah, it is pretty much already powerful enough at a certain size compared to other parts. I'm just saying proportions because well its the first thing seen.


I did not know Sperm whales hunt by sight too.
But they did have to use that first off from their walking whale days... yeah that makes a lot of sense they would develop good sight underwater
anonymous's avatar
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