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7 Bizarre Extinct Creatures You Haven’t Heard
When we talk about extinct creatures, what are the animals that first come to your mind? I bet it is either the dinosaurs or dodos and then probably the wooly mammoth and the saber tooth tiger, and so on. Most of us know that there were also some weird and gigantic animals that inhabited the earth before humans started increasing their footprint, which later went into oblivion. Here is a list of 7 such bizarre extinct creatures you may have never heard of.
1) Tasmanian Tiger
The Thylacine or the Tasmanian tiger looks like a cross between a dog and tiger. It is a marsupial that existed just about till a century ago. The Tasmanian tiger was a carnivorous marsupial whose homeland was Australia. Though hunted in large numbers by the indigenous population, these animals were visible in the island of Tasmania till the Europeans arrived. The population of the Thylacine was then reduced to paltry numbers due to the heavy-handed hunting by the Europeans. Though efforts were later made to conserve these animals, it was too late. The last of these animals was caught in 1993. It died three years later in a zoo in Hobart, Australia.
If Tyrannosaurus Rex was an alpha predator on the land during the Cretaceous period, Pliosaurs was an alpha predator under water that haunted the world’s oceans. With a short neck, elongated head and huge jaws with sharp conical teeth, the Pliosaurs (or Pliosauroidea) was a killing machine. This creature wasn’t a dinosaur, but a distant cousin of modern lizards. This carnivorous reptile not only ate small fish, but even feasted on sharks and other dinosaurs. The creature grew up to an incredible 52 feet with its head almost 1/7th its total length.
3) Whorl shark
You thought the hammer headed shark or saw shark look weird? Take a look at this one. While the modern day sharks have rows of serrated teeth, the whorl shark had a very interesting lower jaw. It looked as if a circular saw was attached to its lower jaw. This weird species of shark lived almost 300 million years ago. Till recent times, there was a debate in the scientific community about the placement of the tooth structure in the lower jaw. Regardless of the location of the teeth, it definitely was one weird species of shark.
An arthropleura is definitely a bizarre extinct creature. It could be a nightmare for any home owner. No, it is not a giant rodent. But it was a giant bug, which grew up to 8 and half feet. Very similar to a modern centipede in its appearance, it was one of the first invertebrates to roam earth. I know how you feel after seeing the photo. You can breathe a sigh of relief because these bugs existed 300 million years ago and are long gone. Hence, they won’t show up in your home now.
5) The Sea Scorpion
As if a tiny scorpion was not enough to give many people nightmares, there existed a giant scorpion in this world, albeit under water. Jaekelopterus Rhenaniae, or better known as the “sea scorpion” grew up to 8 feet in length and made even the largest lobsters look like an infant. It existed almost 390 million years ago and crawled along the ocean floors. The later species moved to warm shallow waters such as fresh water lakes. Most of the “sea scorpions” were not scorpions in true sense. Nonetheless, they were formidable predators wherever they lived.
6) Megalodon shark
If you thought the great white shark is the largest shark species, the megalodon shark was its grand daddy, both in age and size. It lived about 1.6 million years ago and was the top predator of its time. It is considered the largest predatory fish to have ever existed on earth. It was estimated to be 40-100 feet in length and more than 50 tons in weight. This makes it at least 2-3 times larger than the great white shark. It is assumed that the megalodon hunted whales and used the same stealthy technique as the great white shark.
7) Giant Ground Sloth
About four extinct species of ground sloth have been discovered. Among that, the Eremotherium laurillardi or the giant ground sloth is the most spectacular one. The animal was massive and rivaled a mammoth both in size and weight. It could reach a giraffe’s height while standing on its hind legs. Its claws were as big as a human’s forearm. This giant ground sloth roamed the earth 130 thousand years ago. This is one of the strangest animals as it resembled like no other animal. It was herbivores and lived on leaves, fruits and twigs of a tree. The odd anatomy and massive claws of the ground sloth gave them a strange walk.
What would happen if some of these bizarre extinct creatures such as the megalodon and arthropleura lived among us in modern times? You can only imagine.