Livyatan (originally Leviathan) enters the LRT

Lambert et al. 2010 made a ‘big splash’
when they introduced a giant ‘raptorial’ odontocete, Leviathan melvillei (Fig. 1). Distinct from a similarly-sized sperm whale (Physeter), Leviathan has a shorter rostrum and retained giant teeth on the maxilla. It also had a preoccupied name, so it was later renamed Livyatan.

Figure 1. Leviathan diagram from Lambert et al. 2010 and colored here.

Figure 1. Livyatan diagram from Lambert et al. 2010 and colored here.

Size:
The skull of Livyatan was fifty percent larger skull than the largest sauropterygians, similar in size to the skull of the largest ichthyosaurs, 3/4 the length of the skull of the largest odontocete, Physeter, but with much larger teeth.

Phylogeny
In the large reptile tree (LRT, 1666+ taxa), Livyatan is transitional between several extinct archaeocetes and all extant odontocetes of which Physeter and Tursiops  are the most primitive. The dolphin smile famously worn by Tursiops had its genesis in Livyatan (Fig.1) and was lost in long-jawed Physeter.

One question:
The lateral extent of the premaxilla in the Lambert et al. diagram (Fig. 1) is different in dorsal, lateral and palatal views.


References
Lambert O et al. (6 co-authors) 2010. The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru. Nature 466:105–108.

wiki/Livyatan (Leviathan)
wiki/Physeter

2 thoughts on “Livyatan (originally Leviathan) enters the LRT

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