A fossil find that proves Moby Dick was just a guppy in ancient waters was made recently on a beach in Australia.
Fossil ‘fossicker’ Murray Orr made the stunning find on Beaumaris Beach in Melbourne back in February 2016. Orr, 60, has been a fossil enthusiast for 45 years and the love of it paid off in a big way when he stumbled upon what appeared to be either a rock, a tree branch, or a soda can stuck in the mud.
As Orr said in his own words, “As it was coming out I thought it might be an anti-aircraft shell, I thought ‘here we go, I’m going to blow my arm off’…but then I noticed the curve and thought it looked like a whale tooth”
The tooth measured an impressive 30 centimeters, or almost 12 inches long and weighed about three kilograms, or over six pounds! The ancient tooth is the largest ever found in Australia, and it comes from an extinct species of sperm whale that is said to have hunted other whales.
Because of the toothy find scientists are now estimating the size of the creature at an incredible 60 feet long and, get this: over 88,000 pounds! That’s 44 tons folks – about the weight of a full concrete truck.
The fossilized tooth is estimated to be about five million years old. Strangely enough it makes it one of the youngest known of the whale eating sperm whales of the ancient seas. Dr. Erich Fitzgerald of the Ben Healley Museum, Victoria said, “If we only had today’s deep-diving, squid-sucking sperm whales to go on, we could not predict that just 5 million years ago there were giant predatory sperm whales with immense teeth that hunted other whales”
Dr. Fitzgerald even said that the tooth could have been even bigger saying that “this is the tooth of a whale which was not fully grown” Incredible that this may have been a juvenile or at least a whale that had not reached adulthood.
This is an amazing find for a lifelong fossil collector that has immediately shared it with the scientific community. Thanks to Mr. Orr for being in the right place at the right time and knowing enough to explore all possibilities! Now the world has another reason to visit the beautiful shores of Australia.
Photos via Sydney Morning Herald