I’m not sure if this is a rule of evolution, or not, but it seems to me that any niche that’s capable of supporting something, will get filled. Once the niche is filled, you then see various strategies: small, fast, high reproductive rate versus larger predators that invest energy in giant teeth and brains.
Imagine how different the In the Heart of The Sea story [wik] would have been if Livyatan Melvellei had still been in action. Nom. Game over, man.
I admire the way the artist subtly shaped the eyes so the whale looks a bit less friendly whale-like.
Basically, the specs are: that’s one big-ass whale, with meat-grabbing and ripping teeth, and predatory strategy. By “big ass” I mean: 16.2 meters long. It’s about half as big as today’s blue whales, but it has a whole different attitude. It’s about twice the size of an orca and I suspect orcas would be nowhere in sight when one of those things came cruising through.
1.8 foot-long teeth. That’s twice the size of the high end-range for T. Rex teeth. At 5 meters, a T. Rex would have been a good snack [T. Rexes were gone 50 million years before Melvillei came along]
So, if you want a Halloweeny thought, you can imagine being on a raft in the heart of the ocean, and suddenly the massive head of a punked-out giant sperm whale breaks out of the water next to you, and its eye stares into you, assessing whether you look like you’ve got creamy filling. Then, it slides back into the water and … you wait.