Sperm Whale

We at the Proceedings of the Ever so Strange find the sperm whale an incredible beast. It is arguably the largest predator that has ever lived. A grumpy bugger who’s always up for a ruck… remember this is the chap that didn’t go in for all that Gandhi tish tosh and fought back against the whalers… and we love him! Huzzah!

aaaah choooo!

aaaah choooo!

The sperm whale is so called because whalers originally thought that the huge reserve of oily liquid in its head was actually semen. It’s not, its actual purpose is debatable and more than likely multi-purpose. The oily goo is known to solidify when they are about to dive… so it could be to help the Sperm Whale swim at phenomenal depths… miles under the sea. The enormous liquid filled ‘melon’ is almost certainly used as a remarkable 360 degree microphone allaying information from miles around. Indeed the Whale uses his bonce to find food by echolocation and even produces the loudest sound of any known living species. Some learned types even postulate it can click so loud it can knock a giant squid off his tentacles, stunning him… though no-one has been able to confirm whether the noisy bugger can or can’t.

sperm_whale_skin

There are many tales and legends about this incredible leviathan, notably that great bastion of American Romanticism; Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Melville’s Dick is rather magnificent, but let us move swiftly on to his book, few know that the tale of the white whale was actually inspired by true events… including the sinking of the Essex. When a huge sperm whale rammed the Essex twice, the ship took a one-way ticket to Davy Jones Locker. The whalers were marooned on the Pitcairn Islands, where they ate everything in sight, sadly everything in sight wasn’t really that agreeable anyway and the salty diet gave them boils, lesions and they became prone to bizarre and violent outbreaks. Of course like a Scot at a buffet it wasn’t long until they had eaten everything there was. They were soon drinking their own urine, and were half-crazed by cravings after the pipe tobacco ran out. In the end they ate each other and were said to find jokes about kharma deeply unfunny.

cachalot3

Back to the mighty Physeter macrocephalus… one of the most cosmopolitan animals on the planet… no they don’t know have a remarkable knowledge of the wineries of the Bordeaux region, they hardly even know the larger chateaux of Medoc… they are however found all around the world. The one soupcon of sophistication that they do possess is that they produce what was one of the most important additives from the golden days of perfumery; ambergris. You see the sperm whale may be an enormous beast who really isn’t to be trifled with, however he is understandably squeamish about having to… shall we say pass… the enormous giant squid’s beak through his erm… system. So he wraps it up in this ambergris stuff to help him erm… shift it. Sometimes they are just too big for … down there… which is surprising as his down there is bound to be rather large… so he has to vomit the oily chunk. The Ambergris floats and after years of bobbing around the ocean it acquires a sort of vintage whiff to it… what’s more it is worth an absolute bally fortune.

The largest animal that ever lived is the sperm whale’s chubby cousin the blue whale, an enormous leviathan that still roams the oceans. The blue whale of course siphons the seas for the tiny plankton that make up its diet, but does this make it a predator? Technically yes, they are eating creatures that are animals, however rubbish those animals may be… but we at the Proceedings like our predators with a soupcon more callousness than a tubby bugger who bimbles around the ocean with an open mouth in case something miniscule happens to be in his path.

May we postulate that seen as though plankton aren’t actually able to get away they don’t actually count as prey and the blue whale is therefore not a predator, just a thought. So could it be more correct that the sperm whale is the biggest predator ever, it is bigger than the huge dinosaur Spinosaurus that overshadowed T Rex. It’s bigger even than Megalodon, the enormous extinct shark, its fin said to be the same size as a whole great white. Indeed we at The Proceedings believe the rather magnificent sperm whale… the largest of the toothed whales… a beast so tough that it will happily tussle with the London bus sized giant squid if it fancies a side order of calamari… should be named the largest predator that ever lived and not some big soft prawn sandwich eating rotund cousin of his.

Published in: on July 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Megalodon was possibly as large or larger and bulkier than the sperm whale.

    • Cheers Ted, general consensus seems to be that Megalodon wasn’t as big. Though I wouldn’t fancy telling him so….


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