Physical appearance and biologyEdit
Behaviour and traitsEdit
Odobenocetops was a large marine mammal that cruised the shallow coastal waters off southern Peru. It was a powerful swimmer, but would need to surface periodically to take a breath through its blow-hole. Although it had excellent eyesight, it could also find its way about in dark and murky waters by using the 'melon' organ in its head, which it would have used (just like dolphins do) to navigate the seabed using echolocation.
It is the giant tusks of Odobenocetops that make it so interesting to scientists. On males the right-hand tusk could reach 1.2 metres long, while the left-hand tusk was only 25 centimetres long. The tusks were quite fragile, so may have been for display rather than defence, or for use in mating battles. The females had only two small tusks.
Odobenocetops foraged on the seabed, where its flat belly would permit the mouth and fat lips to grub in the mud for clams and other shellfish. Once found, each would be held in the lips and the prey sucked from its shell.
Nigel Marven found an Odobenocetops foraging for oysters in the mud, and it was being hunted by an adolescent Megalodon. Only by taking cover in the thick underwater foliage did Nigel and the Odobenocetops manage to escape the huge shark.