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Bizarre-Looking Colossus Whale May Have Been Heaviest Animal Ever (Sorry, Blue Whales)

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Scientists excavating in a Peruvian desert have found the fossilized bones of what they argue may have been the heaviest animal ever to live: a strange ancient whale that may have had a teensy head attached to a giant, bloated body.

The long-lost whale, now dubbed Perucetus colossus, had a skeleton that may have weighed two to three times that of a blue whale. Tipping the scales at up to 330,000 pounds, the blue whale is the heaviest animal alive today. Until now, paleontologists hadn’t found anything that could even compare to that behemoth.

“It’s an extraordinary claim—the heaviest animal yet described—so that requires pretty extraordinary evidence, and I think they convincingly demonstrated that,” says Annalisa Berta, a retired paleontologist and a professor emerita at San Diego State University, who was not involved in the new research. The study was published on August 2 in the journal Nature.

Paleontologist and study co-author Mario Urbina first stumbled on one of P. colossus’s vertebrae around a decade ago, says his colleague Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, a…



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