Top Ten Most Terrifying Dinosaurs And Prehistoric Creatures.
Monsters Of The Earths Ancient Past
Man has only inhabited the Earth for a metaphorical blink of an eye in geological terms. The first mammals to be classified in the genus Homo, Homo Habilis only appeared just over 2 million years ago, when you think that the last dinosaurs died out over 65 million years ago it puts into context just how old life on Earth is. The Earth in the past has been home to some of the most terrifying creatures imaginable, the mega fauna of prehistory can rival anything thought up by mans imagination. In this Hub we will take a look at some of the largest and fiercest and just downright scary carnivores that have ever inhabited our blue planet.
Dino Facts # 1
Dinosaurs first appeared during the time on Earth known as the Triassic period around 231 million years ago, they became the dominant species on Earth until they became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period 66 million years ago.
Spinosaur vs T.Rex
Spinosaurus was possibly the largest carnivorous dinosaur that ever lived. With a 6ft long skull it would have been able to swallow a man whole. Spinosaurus was first discovered in Egypt by a German paleontologist before World War One. A large sail jutted out from the Spinosaurs back, it is not yet completely clear what the biological purpose of the sail was, scientists have surmised it may have been used in sexual selection rather similar to how a male peacock uses its tail feathers today or it may have helped regulate the animals temperature. It seems likely that from where Spinosaur fossils have been found that the animal would have mainly fed on fish and smaller dinosaurs.
Dino Facts # 2
It was long believed that dinosaurs were ancient reptiles or lizards, indeed the name dinosaur literally means terrible lizard, it is now known that dinosaurs were closely related to modern day birds.
Liopleurodon was a marine predator of the family Plesiosaur the short necked Pliosaurs. It is estimated that Liopleurodon could have reached 23ft in length and had a skull around 5ft long. Liopleurodon roamed the worlds oceans during the mid Jurassic period around 155 to 160 million years ago. Although Liopleurodon was a fearsome individual it pales in comparison to a recently discovered Pliosaur which has been named Predator X. Now officially named Pliosaurus Funkei, Predator X was at least twice as big as Liopleurodon and had a bite four times as powerful as a T-rex!
Phorusrhacids were giant carnivorous birds that lived around 60 million years ago after the extinction of the dinosaurs. One fossil bird discovered Kelenken guillermoi has been estimated to stand at 9.8ft tall. This family of birds have colloquially become known as " Terror Birds ". Although the terror birds had massive beaks it is thought they killed their prey by kicking and tearing with their clawed feet.
The Velociraptor became well known after the release of the Steven Spielberg movie Jurassic Park in 1993. In reality the Velociraptor was about the size of a large chicken and not that scary at all but there was a dinosaur that was much closer to the terrifying creature seen in Jurassic Park and that my friends was Deinonychus. Deininychus was around the height of a human being and its name means terrible claw because of the huge retractable claw that grew on its feet. The claw would snap forward when this predator attacked and would rip and tear at the victims flesh. Scientists have hypothesized that Deinonychus due to their relatively small size hunted in packs. This dinosaur has been found to have many bird like features and is often depicted by artists as having feathers, though that can't be known for certain.
To paraphrase a scene from Jaws " You're gonna need a bigger boat " well to catch a Megalodon you would need an extremely big boat indeed. Megalodon was a giant shark that roamed the worlds oceans between 28 and 1.5 million years ago. Megaladon was huge it has been estimated that the shark could have reached over 60ft long and weighed as much as 100 tons. The giant shark had possibly the strongest bite of any animal ever known with a bite force of between 10.8 and 18.2 tons, to put that into context a modern day Lion has a bite force of around 600 pounds! Megaladon looked like a much bigger and stockier version of the Great White Shark we know so well today. It is believed that Megaladon would have fed on prehistoric whales as well as dolphins, turtles and squid.
Dino Facts #3
The dinosaurs died out around 65 million years ago at the end of what is known as the Cretaceous period, so what caused their extinction?
Scientists believe there are two possible scenarios that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. One possibility is that the Earth was hit by an extraterrestrial object such as a comet or meteor, another possibility is the Earth underwent a bout of massive volcanic activity, both scenarios would have caused the skies to become choked with smoke and debris. Under these circumstances greenhouse gases normally locked in the Earths atmosphere would have been released causing the Earths temperature to rise dramatically. Many species that may have survived the darkness caused by the extinction event would then have been destroyed by the soaring temperatures.
5 million years or so after the dinosaurs had vanished from the Earth a creature that would be the stuff of nightmares evolved some 60 to 58 million years ago, that creature was the gigantic snake Titanoboa. Titanoboa was the longest and heaviest snake that ever lived, it could grow up to 42ft long and weigh as much as 2,500lb and had a width around a meter wide. This giant serpent would have looked liked a massive modern day Boa constrictor but lived in an aquatic swampy jungle like the Anacondas of today.
Classic Battle T-rex vs Triceratops
Probably the best known and loved dinosaur known to man. every dinosaur mad young kid loves T-rex. Images of T.-rex have been a familiar part of our culture for a long time as T-rex has appeared in movies such as Jurassic Park, King Kong and The Valley Of Gwangi. Tyrannosaurus could measure up to 40ft in length and could be 13ft high at the hips alone and weigh as much as 6.8 metric tons. This massive dinosaur was a bipedal carnivore and was probably the apex predator of its day feeding on Hadrosaurs and Ceratopsians. Modern studies have led scientists to believe that T-rex could have hunted in packs and may have been a scavenger as well as a hunter using its enormous jaw power to rip and tear at the flesh of a victim or dead animal.
Imagine a crocodile that is twice as long as a modern day saltwater crocodile and could weigh up to 8 tonnes, that would be Sarcosuchus. Sarcosuchus lived during the Cretaceous period in what is now South America and Africa and is probably the largest crocodile species that ever lived. It is likely that Sarcosuchus would have fed on small dinosaurs.
Dino Facts # 4
The largest dinosaur that ever lived was Argentinosaurus, this huge sauropod dinosaur could measure 120ft from head to tail and weigh as much as 100 tons.
The largest flying creature to ever live was the massive Pterosaur Quetzalcoatus which had a wingspan of 45ft, strangely new research hints that although the animal had huge wings it may have led a completely ground based existence.
A fossil specimen of Arctotherium angustidens has been found to be an example of the largest bear that ever lived and possibly the largest mammalian carnivore ever to walk the Earth, weighing in at a massive 3501lbs and standing up to 11ft tall. Arctotherium lived in South America during the Pliocene era around 2.5 to 5 million years ago.
Smilodon was the biggest and best known of the Sabre Toothed Cats, surviving on Earth up till as recently as only 10,000 years ago so it is very likely that man would have met this monster in the flesh. Although mistakenly Smilodon is sometimes called the Sabre Toothed Tiger the big cat was not related to modern day tigers or any feline species alive today but came from a completely extinct family of felines known as the Machairodontinae. Smilodon was around the size of a modern Lion or Tiger but far more robust, many fossils have been found of the species with a large collection being found in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. It is believed that Smilodon would have hunted by jumping on its unsuspecting prey from a height and would sink its extremely large canines into the victims neck before retreating and waiting for the animal to bleed to death.