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7 Bizarre Extinct Creatures You Haven’t Heard

Updated on April 25, 2013

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.

2) Pliosaurs

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.

4) Arthropleura

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.

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    • karthikkash profile image
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      Karthik Kashyap 3 years ago from India

      cjarosz: Thanks a lot for liking the hub :)

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      cjarosz 3 years ago

      This is a very interesting list have. However, I have actually hear of some of these.

    • karthikkash profile image
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      Karthik Kashyap 3 years ago from India

      anonymous: Thanks again for your contribution :)

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      Dear Karthikkash I wrote the comment about Plesiosaurs and Pterosaurs still living today in Africa, New Guinea, North America, and Plesiosaurs may still survive in Scottish lakes, in Lake Champlain, in African lakes and rivers, and in oceans. Authors Bernard Heuvelmans, Roy Mackal, Karl Shuker, and Loren Coleman all have written excellent books about unknown animals or cryptids. Some of these cryptids may be living Dinosaurs, living Pterosaurs or Flying Reptiles and living Plesiosaurs or aquatic, longnecked Reptiles. The Reptile like Buru of Asia is a four legged lizard like animal which may or may not be extinct. Authors Daniel Cohen, Peter Costello, Brad Steiger, and Jerome Clark have also written about cryptids. Author Roy Mackal believes that the identity of certain lake monsters and sea serpents maybe the extinct Zeuglodons or Basilosaurus which lived tens of millions of years ago in the Tertiary period. Maybe these animals arent extinct as science believes. Zeuglodons are Whales which have a streamlined snake like body. Ogopogo of Okanagan lake is described as being part snake and part whale. Roy Mackal believes Ogopogo is a surviving Zeuglodon.

    • karthikkash profile image
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      Karthik Kashyap 3 years ago from India

      anonymous: Thanks a lot for sharing that in detail. That is a lot of interesting information.

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      The Thylacine may still be alive but its numbers would be so low its in grave danger of extinction. The Eurypterids or Sea Scorpions were dangerous Arachnids during the Paleozoic era. One of them, Pterygotus, lived 430 million years ago in the Silurian period and was the length of a small car. BrontoScorpio is an extinct Scorpion from the Devonian period, 410 million years ago and measured a metre long and preyed on Trilobites. Theres a species of canine in Mexico called the Izcuintlipotzotli which went extinct in the 1800s. It has a hunchback appearance. Author Karl Shuker writes about it in his book "Mysteries of Planet Earth." The Carolina Parakeet or the Carolina Conure and the Passenger Pigeon are other species which have sadly become extinct. Other interesting animals that have become extinct are the Reptiles Scutosaurus, Edaphosaurus, and Dimetrodon. These weren't Dinosaurs. They died out during the Permian period some 250 million years ago. Reptiles such as Plesiosaurs and Pterosaurs are believed by mainstream science to have gone extinct 65 million years ago. Yet there are numerous reports and sightings of Pterosaurs in Africa, New Guinea, South America, and Texas in North America. Plesiosaurs may still survive as lake monsters and sea monsters. The Lochness Monster of Scotland, Champ of North America, and the Lukwata of Africa maybe Plesiosaurs or longnecks. Its also possible that the

    • karthikkash profile image
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      Karthik Kashyap 3 years ago from India

      Thanks a lot for the interest Rachael :)

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 3 years ago from Illinois

      Interesting. I like to study extinct species.

    • karthikkash profile image
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      Karthik Kashyap 4 years ago from India

      Thanks a lot for commenting Tristan :)

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      tristan 4 years ago

      i watched documentaries on megaladons and Tasmanian tigers and some with giant sloths pilasoruses and arthropalia in them

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      tristan 4 years ago

      i knew half of them

    • karthikkash profile image
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      Karthik Kashyap 4 years ago from India

      CR Rookwood: Thanks a lot Pamela :)

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      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Wow, what a fun hub. I love this kind of thing. When I was a kid I collected fossils. Thumbs up!

    • karthikkash profile image
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      Karthik Kashyap 4 years ago from India

      hawaiianodysseus: Thanks a lot Joe :)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Good morning, K!

      I'd heard about some of these marvelous creatures, but the Whorl Shark was a new one for me. Wow! I'd be curious to watch an animated video showing the scientists' rendition of how this shark ate its food. The mind boggles at the possibilities.

      Aloha, my friend!

      Joe

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