Belgian institute says it has discovered remains of possibly heaviest animal ever

Belgian institute says it has discovered remains of possibly heaviest animal ever

Perucetus colossus, newly described extinct marine mammal, weighed between 85 and 340 tons

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) announced Wednesday that the remains of possibly the heaviest animal that ever lived -- an ancient whale species -- were found off the coast of Peru.

Perucetus colossus, which swam off the coast of present-day Peru 39 million years ago, competes with the blue whale for the title of the heaviest animal ever, RBINS said in a statement.

Paleontologists including Olivier Lambert of the RBINS estimate that while a blue whale can weigh between 100 to 190 tons (200,000 to 380,000 pounds), the newly described extinct marine mammal weighed between 85 to 340 tons (170,000-680,000 pounds), according to the statement.

The discovery suggested that whales had a phase of extreme growth in an earlier period of their evolution than previously thought.

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