Close
Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
Search
Your Shopping Basket
Total number of items: 0
Sub total: £0.00
Go to Checkout
Our Birmingham Shop
Our Bristol Shop
Animators Survival Kit

Ancient whale named in honour of Herman Melville

1st July 2010

A predatory whale that stalked the earth's oceans around 12 million years ago has been named after the author of Moby Dick.

The prehistoric sperm whale has been given the binomial nomenclature 'Leviathan melvillei' in honour of 19th-century author Herman Melville, who included digressions about natural history in his works.

Olivier Lambert, who works at the Natural History Museum in Paris and co-wrote the Nature paper about the discovery, said that Moby Dick made Melville the ideal candidate for providing the whale's name.

'There is a chapter about fossils. Melville even mentions some of the fossils that I studied for my PhD thesis,' he told the Associated Press.

The fossilised remains of Leviathan melvillei, which were unearthed in Peru, show the creature had 14-inch teeth and could have hunted other whales.

Last month, Leviathan author Philip Hoare called for people to fight for the conservation of whales, pointing out that many species have been hunted to the brink of extinction by mankind.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he also revealed that he swam with sperm whales - the inspiration for Melville's Moby Dick - when researching his book.

Latest Blog
Foyles' Find Your Way Through ... Depression
24/04/2017

How the tv series 13 Reasons Why and Prince Harry's revelations about his own mental health have both sparked important debates about teen wellbeing.

Meg Howrey on the Impossibility of Avoiding Science in Fiction
24/04/2017

As her new book, The Wanderers, is published, exclusively for Foyles, Meg Howrey discusses why all writers of contemporary fiction are going to have to deal with science, and the interesting things that happen between and beyond the categories.

Sara Paretsky Recalls a Childhood as the 'Town Giraffe' in Lawrence, Kansas
20/04/2017

As her new V I Warshawski novel, Fallout, is published, Sara Paretsky recalls her childhood in Lawrence, Kansas and how the town has provided the inspiration and setting for several of her novels, including Fallout.

View all Blog Entries
Twitter
Show/Hide Tweets
© W&G Foyle Ltd