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Wicked Beasts of the Past- Andrewsarchus

Updated on February 21, 2012

Andrewsarchus' Discoverer

Andrewsarchus was an ugly yet beautiful beast discovered by an Indiana Jones themed explorer, Roy Chapman Andrews. Roy was not exactly the man who found this wonderful beast, but by Kan Chuen Pao, a member of Roy's expedition to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. The only thing found of this beast was the top half of its skull. The American Museum of Natural History, where the skull is located now, has claimed this beast to fall under the order of Mesonychia. Mesonychia are an extinct suborder of medium to large carnivorous artiodactyls, which are even-toed ungulates. This suborder appeared and then vanished within the very dirt we walk on. Scientists suggest that they originated over in Asia. Mesonychids in North America are known to be the largest mammalian predators from early Paleocene to mid-Eocene.

Andrewsarchus had similarities in skull structure of a Basilosaurus which related it to whales. It is also believed to have had five hoofed toes, relating it to deer and pigs. Andrewsarchus must have been natures experiment that went wrong. Though this creature was one of nature's mixing pots, this animal was big, aggressive, and one of the dominant predators of its time.

Chart showing Suborder- Mesonychia
Chart showing Suborder- Mesonychia

How Big Was Andrewsarchus?

Andrewsarchus was no doubt a pretty big wolf-like, whale-pig. Andrewsarchus grew up to 18 feet long and its skull measured a good 3 feet long. That's a pretty big bite. Its estimated weight put it at 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. This guy was larger than a polar bear, which weighs about 900 pounds. Because of Andrewsarchus's weight problem, he wasn't a fast runner, which suggested that he was a scavenger. A one ton garbage disposal. Luckily for them, their powerful jaws could crush the shells of turtles, most likely their main diet, so they didn't have to go for fast food.


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    • Jazzy Quicksilver profile image

      Jazzy Quicksilver 

      6 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      Andrewsarchus was a truly interesting creature. It was, for one, the largest carnivorous land mammal to ever live. Also, including Maiacetus (sp?), it was one of the last significant ancestors of the whale to live on land.


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