Researchers Believe They Have Uncovered Fossil Of Heaviest Animal Ever

(Photo credit should read GERALDO CASO/AFP/GettyImages)

Matthew Nielsen Contributor
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A team of researchers published a paper Wednesday announcing their analysis of a recently discovered fossil, theorized to belong to the heaviest animal ever uncovered.

The 39 million year old fossil belongs to Perucetus colossus, a species of whale that was found in the deserts of Peru, according to their published paper. While the recovered fossil is incomplete, researchers were able to estimate the weight of the fossil to discover that this ancient whale species would have weighed between 94 and 375 tons, the Associated Press reported. The name means “the colossal whale from Peru.”

The blue whale, the current record holder as the heaviest animal, can weigh up to 180 tons, which would be dwarfed by the researchers’ estimates. (Related: 46,000-Year-Old Creature Revived From Permafrost, Scientists Say)

While not nearly as long as the blue whale, the Perucetus displays “the highest degree of bone mass increase known to date,” according to researchers, with each vertebra weighing over 200 pounds. Apparently an evolutionary adaption for shallow-water diving, the bone density of Perucetus would allow the animal to hover over the seabed in a similar manner to manatees, the AP reported.

Researchers were unable to recover the skull of the whale so little is known in regards to its diet or manner of feeding, the outlet noted.