Prehistoric creatures are fascinating to us modern folk. We like to think of them as being something that the caveman fought with his mighty drumstick shaped club before he went back to his cave where he would meet up with Grog, the caveman inventor (who invented booze, hence the name we use today) and then they’d get totally drunk before riding some mammoths, prompting the caveman community to create the first DUI regulations after Grog and Ugh crashed into a couple of menhirs and created Stonehenge.
OK, enough drug fuelled nonsense. Prehistory is one aspect we cannot directly touch, and it just isn’t something that’s given its fair share in fiction. Sure we get mammoths and the mighty T-rex and all sorts of other beasts, but there’s just so much more weird and wacky stuff out there that ISN’T mentioned, and it’s a crying shame since these creatures aren’t only really awesome, but also pretty terrifying. Just what did the real Ugh and Grog have to contend with? Well given that cavemen (or cave people since we want to be all modern and PC and stuff) didn’t necessarily exist alongside them, so at least they were spared the sheer horrors (or hilarity) of having to face these creatures.
So here are 15 mind-blowing prehistoric creatures that were too weird for the movies to show…
15. Desmatosuchus: The Vegetarian Crocodile
Hialing from the late Triassic period, the Desmatosuchus (I have no idea how it is even pronounced) was a massive, fierce looking crocodile ancestor that was…a vegetarian. It was also pretty huge, with adults reaching over 15 feet in length and weighing more than half a ton. It’s also apparently into punk rock, since they had spikes on their shoulders almost a foot and a half long, and had enough armour to make Muldoon from Jurassic Park want to change his shotgun for a bazooka.
14. Entelodon: The Giant Carnivore Pig
So pigs you might say are cute, messy little creatures with a rather cartoonish appearance…or at least they make for good cartoon characters like Pumbaa who just has no worries and is more interested in eating grubs and shrubs than people. How bad could prehistoric pigs have been?
Well if scientists are to be trusted, then this pig is not only a big fat pig, but probably would have YOU for dinner instead of the other way around. After being 6 and a half feet long and 4 feet tall, and having a massive skull with bone crushing teeth and apparently more of a carnivore than a grass eater, I think Ugh would probably have to avoid this specific Pumbaa since he doesn’t go ‘Hakuna Matata’ but rather ‘H’am gonnaeatya’ instead.
13. Megalodon: Jaws’s Worst Nightmare
Sharks are terrifying. We all know that, they look like the most intimidating creatures in the sea and have been for a long time. Sailors have dreaded sharks following their ships around for millennia. Dolphins were seen as sacred because they liked to kill sharks. The movie Jaws in 1975 basically capitalized on the fear of sharks and made people afraid to go into the water. I sure didn’t want to go into the water after just HEARING about the movie. That’s the power of sharks.
But the great white shark, which everyone is so afraid of, is nothing compared to the big league jawmaster itself…the Megalodon. A few million years ago, this beast swam the oceans of our world and it was one of the biggest maritime predators to ever live. Just how big was this beast of the sea? Well a conservative estimate was round 15 meters long (49.2 feet), with a maximum size of 20 meters (65.6 feet). To give you some idea just how HUGE that is, the great white shark is, at the most, 6.1 meters or 20 feet long…with the average being around 4 meters (13.12 feet) long. What I’m saying is, if Mr. Megalodon opened his mouth wide, you could STAND in his mouth without any chance of your head hitting the roof of his mouth. That’s how BIG these things were. I wonder how Shark Week would have been if these monsters were still around.
12. Pulmonoscorpius: The One Foot Deathstalker
Scorpions are scary, the small death stalkers and fat-tail scorpions are generally very, very small, and those are the most dangerous scorpions. The biggest scorpion out there today is the emperor scorpion, which is big, but thankfully harmless. The emperor scorpion can grow up to 20 cm or 7.9 inches in length, with the record holder being 9 inches or 23cm in total. Not a lot, but still pretty big for a creepy crawly.
Of course that isn’t big enough for video games that feature them, so they make scorpions much bigger. Surely such creatures could not possibly have existed in real life? If you think that, then you’d be so very wrong.
The Pulmonoscorpius, or the one meter deathstalker as I like to call it could have grown up to 70 cm long, or 28 inches, and almost one meter wide. This beast was not only huge, but it was also a venomous one, too, unlike the emperor scorpion that isn’t toxic… meaning if such a thing did come back to life today, we’d need to break out the flamethrowers. No exceptions, please…
11. Estemmenosuchus: The Alienlike Monster
Of all the creatures we have on our list, this one is the closest thing to something out of a Star Wars movie. Its name literally means Crowned Crocodile, but it looks more like the bizarre offspring of a crocodile, a hippo, a triceratops, and a contract with Hasbro to sell toys from its likeness. I wonder if George Lucas used it as an inspiration… somewhere. I don’t know, his Star Wars creatures can get pretty weird.
10. Amebelodon: The Shovel Tusked Elephant
We all know what a mammoth is. It’s like one of those creatures from prehistory that gets a little bit TOO much screen time. I mean the Ice Age series has one such creature as one of its main cast known as Manny the Mammoth. But we all know that mammoths basically look like giant, furry elephants with no unusual features.
Except this isn’t right. I mean look at this thing! The Amebelodon had a giant shovel for a lower jaw that it used to shovel up goodies out of the river or something… It looks just so bizarre and unlike anything that has been shown on any prehistoric themed anything. Why has this curious looking creature been left out for so long?
9. Gigantopithecus: Harry And the Hendersons…On Steroids
OK, if Bigfoot was real, and challenged the gigantopithecus to a boxing match, the only way the match would happen is if Mario was the referee and the audience had a taste for blood (which would make perfect sense if this fight took place in Ancient Rome, but one scenario at time here). This is actually considered to be the largest ape to have ever existed. It was estimated to have been at a height of 3 meters, with an arm length almost as big. In fact, the arms were estimated to be so thick that that not only are the arms longer than most people, but probably thicker, too.
Some cryptozoologists say that this creature is not extinct, but still lives on as Bigfoot. This is a load of baloney. Not only is this creature far, far bigger than any reported sighting of Bigfoot, but a creature of this size, or a community of this size could not have remained undiscovered. The Patterson-Gimlin film (which is the only known (allegedly anyway) footage of Bigfoot) shows a much, much smaller creature. Either way, if 3 meters is average, if it got any bigger, it would be getting into King Kong territory, which does not bode well for the skyscrapers of New York.
8. Edestus: The Scissor-Tooth Shark
The Megalodon is the biggest shark to have ever lived, but it really was basically a scaled-up great white shark. The edestus was its own monstrous thing. Not only is it as big as a great white, but it also has a unique tooth pattern that resembles a pair of scary scissors that was used to slice through its prey like shears through a sheet of paper. Except this one would be a pretty bloody, messy sheet of paper. Palaeontologists aren’t sure how it used its scissor jaws, but come on… scissor jaws. That’s like a Jaws movie parody except it’s played with stationary supplies instead of sharks. That would be pretty stupid, yes, but add some explosions to it and you got yourself a summer blockbuster!
7. Deinotherium: The Tusk-Bearded Elephant
So we’ve seen the Amebelodon, which had a shovel-like lower jaw, and it’s a creature that we have never seen on the screen. You know what else is just as cool? The deinotherium is what happens when an elephants gets too cool for school and decides to put its tusks on backwards. It has tusks for a beard in this case. What was nature thinking when it produced such a creature? I mean the shovel-tusk one I can see the point, but this one… I dunno, it’s like nature got drunk one day and decided ‘I know what we need! An elephant with reversed tusks… yeeessshhh! That’s what we need!’ and then just blacked out from the booze and we ended up with this.
6. Beelzebufo: The Frog From Hell
With a name like beelzebufo, I wonder if they went for a Beelzebub feel to it. Beelzebub means lord of the flies, and since frogs like flies, I figure Satan probably has more than one issue with all the frogs that keep bugging him (or trying to debug him, if you catch my drift). So he created beelzebufo, the biggest frog to have ever existed, to scare them off.
To give you an idea how big this toady thing was, you need to understand that the biggest frog today is the goliath frog, which can grow up to 32 cm (12.6 in) long, but this one could easily have reached 41 cm (16.1 inches) long. While not really scary, just seeing something this big hopping around, it makes you think just how big the insects had to be for this thing to eat. Hopefully this one has a taste for Pulmonoscorpius…oh wait, that one is even BIGGER than our froggy friend.
5. Anzu: Colonel Sander’s Worst Nightmare
The Anzu is a newly discovered creature of birdlike dinosaur from the late cretaceous period, entering our species database in 2014. It was described as being a chicken from hell by paleontologists, ‘as close as a bird without actually being a bird’. It is the largest feathered dinosaur ever found in North America. It was 3 meters longs (11 feet) and weighed over 225 kilograms of pure white meat, but they could have weighed up to a metric ton. It was known to eat small creatures, eggs, and if it was alive today, I’m sure some people would crack jokes to the effect of ‘In America, you eat chicken, In cretaceous, chicken eats YOU!’
4. Dunkleosteus: Armored Fish With Self-Sharpening Teeth
If the Megalodon ever had to fight for its lunch, the dunkleosteus would be the crunchiest fish it would ever have to eat. Again, even bigger than the great white shark today, this armored fish was one of the largest known predatory fish ever to have lived, and it had a massive jaw that was so powerful that it was estimated to have been able to apply a force of no less than 2 metric tons (4408 lbs) around any prey that was unfortunately swimming too close to this behemoth.
The only threat to the dunkleosteus was another sunkleosteus, because it seemed that cannibalism happened with alarming regularity among this species, and it happened more than just to enforce territorial disputes.
3. Quetzalcoatlus: The Biggest Flying Thing Ever
So far, all of the creatures that we have seen are not flying creatures. They were firmly situated on the ground. At least if we get ourselves a helicopter and fly over the ground and oceans (preferably well over those, since we don’t want any jumpers leaping in after us) we’ll be all safe, correct? Nope…not at all actually.
We all know the pterodactyls, those flying creatures that we often think are dinosaurs… but they aren’t, and they are nothing compared to the quetzalcoatlus. The quetzalcoatlus was not just a massive flying creature (its name means Feathered Serpent God). It was the biggest flying living THING ever to have taken to the skies. It had a length of 9 meters and a wingspan of 10 meters (29.53 feet and 32.81 feet respectively). By way of contrast, the largest living flying creature today is the albatross, which has a wingspan of 3.3 meters (11 feet). I guess we should all be grateful that we don’t need to look up at the skies to worry about any living threats today.
2. Thalassomedon: Nothin’ But Neck
The thalassomedon was an oceanic dinosaur that lived around 95 million years ago. They could be up to 10.86 meters (35.5 feet) long, with more than half that length being its neck alone. To call this the giraffe of the sea is an understatement. The giraffe’s neck is normally 1.5 meters to the total height of 6 meters, meaning it’s just a quarter of total body length.
This doesn’t even touch on the vertebrae. The giraffe has only 7 vertebrae, but the thalassomedon had no less than 62. This meant that it must have had a massive amount of flexibility, more than the giraffe ever could with its famous neck fights. It’s one sea creature that would make for one weird encounter for a prehistoric submarine crew.
1. Titanoboa: Indiana Jones’s Weakness
Snakes are bad news. Anacondas and pythons are big snakes that crush its prey without biting them…and they have to be pretty big in order to do that. The biggest anaconda ever measured grew to a whopping 5.21 meters (17.1 feet), which is already too big for comfort. But some unverified claims state that they can claim up to be 26 to 39 feet (8.7 to 11.9 meters). Those had nothing on the titanoboa, which was confirmed to been able to easily reach an overall length of 12.8 meters (42 feet) or even 14.6 meters (48 feet) and weigh over 1,135 kilograms (2,500 lbs).
But of course, this means this is also the most trustworthy snake out there. Why? Because judging from the old saying ‘snake in the grass’ this thing makes no effort to hide itself…I mean just HOW can it hide itself anyway? Good thing it ceased to exist over 58 million years ago.
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