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The Largest Animals That Ever Lived on Earth

Updated on August 23, 2017

Some of the largest prehistoric animals....

I recently read about a large rodent fossil that was discovered in 2008 and it sparked my interest in large prehistoric animals. I was eager to learn more about some of the largest critters to ever roam the earth, and I was not disappointed. I did some research and decided to create a lens! Here you will find some information about the largest snake fossil ever found, an enormous frog, a gigantic kangaroo, and more. I have also provided links for more information on each beast and to some great sites on prehistoric animals and dinosaurs.

Clickable table of contents:

Photo: Kenneth Krysko
Photo: Kenneth Krysko

The Biggest Snake That Ever Lived

Giant Boid Snake (Titanoboa cerrejonensis)

If you like snakes, you will love this one....if not, prepare to be creeped out! The fossil of the largest snake to ever live was discovered in a mine located in Columbia. The fossils indicate that this snake was 42 feet (13 meters) long and weighed 2500 pounds (1250 kg)!!! That is roughly the length of a school bus and the weight of a VW Beetle. The photo at right shows a fossilized vertebra compared to the green anaconda.

This prehistoric reptile is believed to have been a massive anaconda-like beast that slithered through tropical rainforests 60 million years ago and fed on primitive crocodiles. It would have suffocated its prey with a vice strong enough to crush an old car!

Where is COLUMBIA?

What is a REPTILE?

More information on this snake!

More information about Titanoboa!

Click here for even more information about this awesome snake!

The Boid Snake - Artists rendering compared to human

The Boid Snake - Artists rendering compared to human
The Boid Snake - Artists rendering compared to human

Giant Prehistoric Ground Marsupial

Protemnon anak

This gigantic kangaroo-like marsupial "hippo" lived on the island Tasmania. This beast weighed 1,000 pounds (500 kg)! That's half a ton! Good thing these giants were herbivores. New data suggests they went extinct around 41,000 years ago.

The largest species of kangaroo alive today, the red kangaroo, can weigh up to 200 pounds. This animal would be dwarfed by the prehistoric giant!

What is a MARSUPIAL?

Where is TASMANIA?

What is a HERBIVORE?

More information on this beast!

The largest mammal that ever lived.....

Is the beautiful Blue Whale!

The largest rodent on earth is the Capybara

The largest marsupial on earth is the Red Kangaroo

Biggest Rodent That Ever Lived

Josephoartigasia monesi

Here it is, the largest rodent fossil to ever be discovered! This enormous rat weighed ONE TON, that's 2000 pounds (1000 kg)!! The skull of this prehistoric critter was found in Uruguay and measures 21 inches (53 centimeters) long. That would make this prehistoric beast about the size of a bull. The photo at right shows the skull size compared to a modern-day rat.

What is a RODENT?

Where is URUGUAY?

More information on this critter!

Size of the prehistoric rodent compared to man and the capybara!

Size of the prehistoric rodent compared to man and the capybara!
Size of the prehistoric rodent compared to man and the capybara!

Living Prehistoric Animals

Giant Prehistoric Shark

Megalodon

These huge prehistoric sharks first appeared in the earth's waters about 16 million years ago. This beast may have grown to lengths over 50 feet (16 meters) and could have weighed up to 30 times MORE than the great white shark! That's 126,000 pounds (63,000 kg)!!!

The photo at right shows a single Megalodon tooth. The bite of this gigantic shark was strong enough to crush a car and was much stronger than the bite of Tyrannosaurus rex!

The Great White Shark.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex

More information about Megalodon

You can see the massiveness of Megalodon when compared to a GW shark and a human!

Enormous Monster Whale

I just read an article about a monstrous whale that was discovered back in 2010. The fossils were discovered by Klaas Post in Peru's Ice desert. This was not only a large whale, it was also believed to have shared the ancient oceans with none other than the Megalodon shark! Although they may have co-existed, scientists don't think these two monsters would have attacked each other, but perhaps one might attack the young of another.

The bones of this large whale have been dated to 12 or 13 million years ago and in honor of Herman Melville's Moby Dick it has been named Leviathan melvillei. It is estimated that this whale would have been between 13 and 18 meters (43 to 59 feet) long. Its skull is three meters (9.8 feet) long. Its teeth are the largest predatory teeth every found at 36 cm (14 inches) long and 12 cm (5 inches) wide. Quite an interesting find!

Source: Ancient monster whale more fearsome than Moby Dick via New Scientist.

Illustration by Luci Betti-Nash
Illustration by Luci Betti-Nash

The Largest Frog That Ever Lived

The bad-tempered Beelzebufo or "devil frog"

This enormous prehistoric frog once hopped about Madagascar around 70-million-years-ago and is believed to be the largest frog that ever lived. Called the Beelzebufo or "devil frog." These gigantic herps were the size of a beach ball, roughly 16 inches (41 cm) high and weighing about 10 pounds (4.5 kg)!! Wonder what sounds it made? :)

It is believed that the devil frog probably had a very bad attitude --- given its closest living relatives, which are known to grab onto anything that moves, even humans! The beelzebufo had a strong jaw and protective shield which may have enabled it to feast upon baby dinosaurs.

Where is MADAGASCAR?

What is a HERP?

More information on devil frogs!

Bizarre Prehistoric Animals Video

This video is really well-done and shows a wide variety of bizarre prehistoric life!

The Largest Arthropod That Ever Lived - Jaekelopterus rhenaniae

Imagine a giant crayfish-like creepy-crawler that was much longer than you!! This enormous arthropod lived 390-million-years-ago and was roughly the size of a large crocodile. Scientists estimate that it was about 8.2 feet (2.5 m) long, based on the 18-inch (46 cm) fossil claw that was found in Germany. This sea scorpion likely inhabited coastal swamp waters where it was probably the top predator around --- slicing up fish and even its own kind, as arthropods are known to do.

What is an ARTHROPOD?

Where is GERMANY?

More information about this giant sea scorpion!

Why were prehistoric critters so big?!

Well, not all prehistoric animals were big. We just have a tendency to pay more attention to the massive animals.

It's thought that a larger size made animals less likely to be eaten by predators.

At a cost though. A larger body needs more food to sustain it, hence, large prehistoric animals were more susceptible to extinction.

Huge Prehistoric Desert-Dwelling Penguins

Icadyptes salasi

Thirty-five million years ago, penguins the size of humans could be found wandering a desert in Peru. This penguin did not need ice to survive! These birds reached heights of 5-feet (1.5 m). The photo at right shows this giant as compared with another prehistoric penguin, and with Peru's only living penguin, the Peruvian penguin.

Where is PERU?

More on Peruvian penguins

More information on this giant penguin!



Prehistoric giant penguin skull (top) as compared to Peruvian penguin skull (bottom).

3-Foot Giant Shrimp

A fossil discovery in Morocco revealed that this gigantic early crustacean lived almost 30 million years longer than previously thought. The specimens found are the largest yet discovered of its kind and suggest that these shrimp-like beasts dominated pre-dinosaur seas. These shrimp-like creatures were the early off-shoot of modern crustaceans called anomalocaridids.

Just how large were these beasts? The recent fossils reveal that they could grow to lengths of 3.3 feet (1 meter)!!! Just one would have made enough shrimp scampi to feed an army for a month. Click here to read the full National Geographic article!

What is your favorite prehistoric animal on this page?

All right, time to pick your favorite!

See results

What about the birds?

The largest bird in the fossil record may be the extinct elephant bird of Madagascar, which is related to the ostrich. They were 3 m (10 ft)+ high and weighed an estimated 500 kg (1,120 lb)!

The largest bird ever capable of flight was Argentavis magnificens with a wingspan of up to 8.3 m (28 ft), a length of over 3 m (10 ft), and a body weight of 80 kg (175 lb). That's one big bird!

Great Dinosaur Sites!

If you are interested in dinosaurs, check out these educational and informative sites!

What prehistoric creatures do you like best?

Which group of prehistoric giants do you like better?

Purple Star!

This lens was awarded with a purple star for quality content on 15 June 2011. THANK YOU to my readers and special thanks to skiesgreen for the nomination and Robin for the award! (:

This lens was selected as Squidoo Lens Of The Day on 17 June 2011

So...what do you think? - Do you like large animals?

Is bigger better?

See results

Do these prehistoric animals fascinate you? Did I miss your favorite? Leave your comments here!!

Are you crazy about prehistoric life?

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    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      This is a great lens! I love paleozoology.

    • suepogson profile image

      suepogson 4 years ago

      A really detailed and fun lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I feel vey small all of a sudden.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very interesting lens. Good job!

    • leesholden profile image

      Lee 5 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Not any more, but back in the day - they certainly did! Can't wait to have my own kids to help them learn all about the prehistoric critters!

    • EpochCatcher profile image

      EpochCatcher 5 years ago

      Nice lens. I love prehistoric critters.

    • RestlessKnights profile image

      RestlessKnights 5 years ago

      There should be more lenses like this on Squidoo! Nice job.

    • profile image

      boa11kfh 5 years ago

      Nice animals. I've liked prehistoric animals since I first watched Walking with Dinosaurs. I have all three series on DVD. I liked the giant whale and the giant shark.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens!!

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Great lens, well done!

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 5 years ago

      Nah, not crazy about 'em, but they are interesting! Thanks!

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      They are very fascinating! Thanks for sharing:)

    • QuiltFinger profile image

      QuiltFinger 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Holy cow, or should I say holy Megalodon!

      I'm definitely favoring the larger herbivores. I had a lot of fun reading this and many OMG moments! Very well-done and well-researched lens!!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      The giant anthropod is enough to make me want to run a mile and then some, looks like something out of Doctor Who. I saw some in New Zealand that were inches long and scary enough. In New Zealand there used to be a giant flightless bird called the "Moa", which made an Ostrich look tiny. The last ones died out only about 200 years ago.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Yes but I'm glad that they are no longer with us, that keeps us off the lunch menu.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Am not but am interested and I learned much from your lens.

    • mojoCNYartist profile image

      Dan 5 years ago from CNY

      Very interesting lens..I enjoyed reading this, which is something I can honestly say compared to most lenses on this site.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Popping back in to sprinkle some Angel dust on this lens! :)

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 5 years ago

      Congratulations on purple star! You did a good job here!!

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like to read or watch documentaries about ancient and prehistoric life.

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 5 years ago

      Very cool and informative!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Fascinating - the ginormous Desert-Dwelling Penguins are going to haunt my dreams!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I can't even imagine what a 2,000 lb rat would be like. Great lens!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      It's fascinating to know the history of life on our planet. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      good information, thanks

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind 5 years ago from USA

      Pretty great lens -- well-researched and well written.

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 5 years ago

      Well done!

    • MrTossot profile image

      MrTossot 5 years ago

      Nice work, good information

    • ernieplotter profile image

      ernieplotter 6 years ago

      Great lens! This is a very nice collection of animals.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: fuckin shit man

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Came by for a refresher and to google +1 this amazing lens.

    • spartakct profile image

      spartakct 6 years ago

      Fascinating lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I just had to take another peek in on this masterpiece!

    • profile image

      peppervel 6 years ago

      Yes, I would read any articles I can chance upon on prehistoric animals. When younger, I used to spend hours in the library. I just love the mystery behind and the possibilities of these creatures roaming on earth millions years ago... amazing!

    • profile image

      mrsphillips200 6 years ago

      Great lens. I find that some graphics are perhaps a little outdated, and Anancus is a genus, not a specific animal, but that is the video's problem, not your's. There may be other issues, but overall an intreguing subject and a fun lens!

    • profile image

      SirAwesome 6 years ago

      Wow! What a great lens! Thanks for sharing!

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 6 years ago from Ireland

      Fascinating to think how big the prehistoric creatures were. Not surprised you got LOTD with this, it is a beautiful piece of work, well done.

    • TheHealthGuy LM profile image

      TheHealthGuy LM 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      This is a site I'll have to spend some time on later. Fascinating information. I could literally spend hours learning.

    • BryanLSC profile image

      BryanLSC 6 years ago

      I don't get it. Why are prehistoric animals, including the dinosaurs, are so much larger than animals today? Our only contenders now are the whales! Why?

    • Srena44 profile image

      Srena44 6 years ago

      great lens

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 6 years ago from Covington, LA

      Speaking as a retired teacher, you did a great job on this lens. Sprinkled with dust from the Angel of the farmyard on a Back to school field trip.

    • uruha-fan-girl profile image

      uruha-fan-girl 6 years ago

      My younger brother would love looking at these! He always want to know what animals is the biggest, strongest, tallest ha ha. Good job:)

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Awesome lens! The Megaladon is terrifying, oooh and the giant snake - yikes!

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 6 years ago

      This is amazing! Had to watch the video over and over again. Thanks for this educational lens. Great job! Sundae ;-)

    • profile image

      Steve-SEO-UK 6 years ago

      I am a mug for the History TV channel and watch numerous documentaries on prehistoric life. I saw a program recently which proclaimed that we could see 30ft Pythons realised in the not too distant future. Excellent Lens which I really enjoyed and well worth LOTD. Big thumbs up given.

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 6 years ago

      What about prehistoric felines? Giant lions, machaerodons, etc. Or proto-elephants.

    • AsianMarketplace profile image

      AsianMarketplace 6 years ago

      I like reading the articles here.

    • profile image

      gogolf162 6 years ago

      Pretty amazing creatures. The ones we live with now are scary enough for me.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      If I saw a 42-foot snake, I'd keel over. Talk about creepy! Fascinating stuff here.

    • MarxBrandon profile image

      MarxBrandon 6 years ago

      Congrats!

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 6 years ago from Burbank, CA

      congrats on the purple star!

    • pheonix76 profile image
      Author

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      @norma-holt: Thank you so very much Norma!! You are a true Squidoo angel. (:

    • lynnrdavis profile image

      lynnrdavis 6 years ago

      Really great lens! Thanks for sharing. My nephew loves prehistoric studies. He'd get a kick out of this

    • aka sakabato profile image

      aka sakabato 6 years ago

      I believe deep in a jungle there a giants animal that we do not discover yet, like some story of giant centipade, maybe in that environment they can grow bigger than we usually see in our daily life.

      p/s: why do my security words are always gigalust???

    • profile image

      Rawane 6 years ago

      Love it! Great infos! I'm a science teacher myself and kids are very curious and sometimes. They tend to ask me questions about animals and their prehistoric life. I couldn't answer some of their questions but after reading what you wrote, I sure know the answers now :) Thanks!

    • Psycho-Gamer profile image

      MasterPsycho 6 years ago from Earth

      Crazy no..interested ..hell yeah...like most of us are about our unknown past....lets not forget that sientistic have not discovered everything and some of their saying are based on theories...

    • MelissaInTheSky profile image

      MelissaInTheSky 6 years ago

      Wow! What a cool lens! I learned new things. :) Love the pictures!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Congratulations on both LOTD and the Purple star. Truly remarkable lens and now featured on Squidoo LOTD Lenses.

    • MisterJeremy profile image

      Jeremy 6 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Congratulations on LOTD. Well deserved. I'm going to show this lens to my kids later.

    • pheonix76 profile image
      Author

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      @Annamadagan: Yes, I am a scientist and only feel comfortable presenting accepted scientific facts and theories. (:

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      How amazing! Yes, I found this fascinating--to think that such creatures once existed is mind boggling.

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 6 years ago

      I see you used eveloution on this lens. :(

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, I'm always amazed by nature and the countless creatures that inhabit the earth. This lens lived up to my expectations when I read the title. I enjoyed reading about all the prehistoric animals here and congrats on the Purple Star and LOTD! :)

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      Super nice lens. Very informative. And I appreciate all the links. Thanks!

    • profile image

      AdriennePetersen 6 years ago

      Great lens, well thought out! Congrats on LOTD and your purple star, very well deserved!

    • pcgamehardware profile image

      pcgamehardware 6 years ago

      Great lens, Very good original content and very well presented.

    • daedrea lm profile image

      daedrea lm 6 years ago

      great and interesting lense!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Awesome, really enjoyed this prehistoric animals lens - had no idea these types of animals existed. Congrats on LOTD, well done!

    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 6 years ago

      Congratulations to you !!!!!

    • profile image

      almirah 6 years ago

      A great and nice lens. Like the idea of clickable more info under text box. Congrats on LotD!

    • VladimirCat profile image

      Vladimir 6 years ago from Australia

      I don't like the giant prehistoric snake at all

    • Downloadsoftwar1 profile image

      Downloadsoftwar1 6 years ago

      Very BIG!

    • arpak12 profile image

      arpak12 6 years ago

      Congrats on LotD, this lens definitely deserved it.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      These are truly fascinating creatures! Congrats on LOTD.

    • Muzzie4848 profile image

      Muzzie4848 6 years ago

      Congrats on your LOTD. I love history and reading your interesting facts. I particularly liked the snake vertebra comparison. Really interesting.

    • pheonix76 profile image
      Author

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      @Scarlettohairy: Lol!

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 6 years ago

      Exciting lens and great history. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      GabrielaFargasch 6 years ago

      Wow! That giant lobster really freaked me out! Lol Congratulations on your LOTD! Totally deserved!

    • GoAceNate LM profile image

      GoAceNate LM 6 years ago

      Wow great lens. Lots of neat facts here. Thanks!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • TransientTimes profile image

      TransientTimes 6 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day!!! It was much enjoyed <3

    • TransientTimes profile image

      TransientTimes 6 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day!!! It was much enjoyed <3

    • pheonix76 profile image
      Author

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      Thanks to everyone who visited today!! :) Smiles, Jenna

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      A very interesting read. Yes, pretty much fascinated by the prehistoric. Congratulations for your Lens Of The Day award!

    • Steve Dizmon profile image

      Steve Dizmon 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I would like to see a representative of the ancient predator birds. Some of them were pretty awesome.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      No, I'm just crazy.

    • mahimattphoto profile image

      mahimattphoto 6 years ago

      Awesome lens. So cool the earth is an amazing place.

    • profile image

      sujaysen 6 years ago

      So scary to know about these largest animals.

    • profile image

      dfishbac 6 years ago

      Wow! This is fascinating and new to me too. I'd like to have one of those 3 foot long shrimp sauteed in some olive oil and garlic.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      This is all new to me. These prehistoric creatures boggle my mind. I don't think I'd want to meet any of them in person.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Congratulations for LotD - a very original lens and thoroughly deserving. I had 'liked' it before, quite a while ago, so I can't squidlike it again, sadly..

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Never knew about most of these gigantic animals. The huge snake is pretty darn scary to think about. Congrats on LotD!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Congrats on LotD! These enormous prehistoric animals are fascinating - glad I won't have to meet any of them in the flesh, well I guess the big penguin would be OK.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Another great lens. Congrats on the LOTD!

    • kwhiting644 lm profile image

      kwhiting644 lm 6 years ago

      Great lens. I like how the content over-rides the ads.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      Shrimps, arthropods, penguins... bigger than humans?!? Hoooooooooo... Heeeeeeelp! Very interesting lens, though! And greatly done.

      Congratulations on your LOTD!

    • EcoGecko LM profile image

      EcoGecko LM 6 years ago

      I always thought it was New Zealand, Kawhia where they found the largest penguin standing at the same height (an estimated 1.5metres) must have found them in two different locations.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice to see this page get awarded, I thought it was a winner before, and I'm very happy for you. ~ Congratulations!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Informative lens. Thanks you.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens, great content. See you around the galaxy...