The sulphur-bottom or blue whale is the largest animal alive today and, so far as is known, the largest animal that ever lived. The longest whale of which I have found authentic record measured 108 feet and weighed approximately 80 tons or 160,000 pounds.
Another, more corpulent specimen of 95 feet tipped the scales at approximately 294,000 pounds Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, do not grow so large as their toothless cousins. The largest sperm whale of which I have a record was a male that was washed ashore near Port Arthur, Texas, in 1910.
It was sixty-three and one-half feet long without question a fine specimen-but Dr. H. H. Newman, the good professor who measured it, became too enthusiastic when he stated that the sperm whale was probably the largest creature that ever lived.
Some extinct reptiles belonging to the dinosaur group-the thunder beasts or thunder lizards-were very large, but there is no evidence that any of them were as large as the blue whale. Several rather complete skeletons of these reptiles have been found, from which it has been possible to estimate the maximum size they attained.
One of the largest known skeletons measures eighty-seven and one-half feet. It has also been estimated that the heaviest of the dinosaurs may have reached a weight of fifty tons, which is considerably less than the known weights of several kinds of whales.