AN EXTINCT whale has been declared the heaviest animal to live following an extensive study on the animal and discovered bones.
Scientists discovered remains that proved the massive size of the ancient whale called Perucetus colossus who lived roughly 38 million years ago.
The whale is a newly described basilosaurid (a family of extinct cetaceans).
It is estimated to have a body mass of between 187,000 to 750,000lbs and a body length of about 66ft, per the study published online in Nature on Wednesday.
Perucetus colossus is gaining major attention because its heavyweight accounts for more than double a blue whale which was the heaviest animal recorded before the new discovery.
This has now earned Perucetus colossus the title of the heaviest known animal to have ever lived.
It is believed that its heavy weight came from the mass of its bone to help it to dive, the study explained.
The first remains were discovered 30 years ago but scientists have discovered 13 vertebrae, four ribs, and a hip bone since then in the Ica Province in southern Peru, per a statement.
The discoveries over time helped them declare the weight of the whale.
“[One of my co-authors] was looking for fossils in the desert in Peru and saw an outcropping of bones,” lead author Eli Amson, a paleontologist and curator of fossil mammals at the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History in Germany, told Live Science.
“Digging out the fossils took a lot of time because of their sheer size. Each vertebra alone weighs 150 kilos [330 pounds].”
The findings have scientists to believe that the whale looked “weird” with a tiny head, and an enormous body with little arms and legs.
It was noted that the scientists took a “conservative” approach when estimating the extinct whale’s size as it is impossible to be exact with just the bones.
“It might have looked much weirder than we think,” Amson said.
“In terms of weight, P. colossus was definitely bulkier than a blue whale. But the overall body length was shorter than the blue whale [and measured] 20 meters (66 feet).
“It’s hard to estimate exactly how much blubber and soft tissues surrounded its skeleton, and so we went with a rather conservative approach with our size estimates.”