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Temporal range: Late Miocene (Tortonian)
Zygophyseter BW.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Superfamily: Physeteroidea
Family: incertae sedis
Genus: Zygophyseter
Species: Z. varolai
Bianucci & Landini, 2006

Zygophyseter varolai is an extinct cetacean, similar to the sperm whale. The common name of "killer sperm whale" refers both to its relation to modern day sperm whales, and to its similarity in size to and its "probable similar feeding adaptation to the extant delphinid killer whale (Orcinus orca)".[1]

The description for Zygophyseter varolai, published in 2006, is the only species in the genus Zygophyseter. This was based on a fossil, an almost complete skeleton, which dates from the Tortonian Age of the Late Miocene Epoch of Southern Italy. It has a very long zygomatic process, probably for housing the spermaceti organ. Z. varolai has a large body size with large teeth present in both jaws making it capable of feeding on large prey.[1]

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  1. ^ a b Bianucci, Giovanni, & Landini, Walter. (2006). "Killer sperm whale: a new basal physeteroid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Late Miocene of Italy". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 148: 103–131. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2006.00228.x. 

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