Ancient animals, now extinct, still continue to amaze paleontologists and biologists. The variety of life forms on Earth was once much wider than it is now, and fossils finds confirm this every time. But evolution is merciless, and many ancient animals, obviously, could not adapt to the changing conditions of life, and therefore disappeared from the face of the planet.
Interesting facts about extinct animals
In the entire history of ancient species known to us, there have been orders of magnitude more on Earth than there are now.
Many extinct animals have living relatives similar to them. For example, now there are elephants and rhinos, and several tens of thousands of years ago woolly rhinos and mammoths roamed the north.
Jellyfish are one of the most ancient animals. They appeared about 600 million years ago, and since then they have not changed much.
Blue whales are larger than most of the extinct animals that have ever inhabited our planet.
Even 40 thousand years ago there were megalanias, giant monitor lizards 9 meters long and weighing 2 tons. Modern Komodo dragons are very similar to them, but they are much smaller.
The largest extinct shark was the megalodon. In length, these fish reached 30 meters, which is comparable to the height of a 10-story building.
Primitive people in North America had to be wary of fororakos, huge flightless birds of prey. The fororakos reached a height of three meters. However, primitive hunters still exterminated them all.
Another interesting extinct animal is the saber-toothed tiger, or smilodon. It died out only about 10 thousand years ago, after the large animals like mammoths, which he hunted, disappeared.
Some extinct animals of the seas and oceans were notorious predators. Such was, for example, the Basilosaurus, a predatory whale, far superior in all respects to modern sperm whales.
Only about 12 thousand years ago, other ancient animals existed in the world – short-faced bears. With a length of up to 3.5 meters and a weight per ton, or even more, they surpassed even polar bears.
One of the subspecies of zebras, the quagga, has recently become extinct, just like the dodo bird and marsupial wolf.
Modern lions are dangerous and skillful predators, but about 30 thousand years ago in Africa there were other extinct animals that were not related to them, however, relatives. These were marsupial lions, relatively small but agile predators weighing 100-120 kg and up to 1.5 meters long.
The largest extinct birds were Argentavis that existed in South America. Their wingspan reached 8 meters, and this celestial predator weighed up to 70 kg.
Giant deer lived in Ireland about 8 thousand years ago. The width of their horns could exceed 3.5 meters.
There were about 6,000 species of ancient monkeys on Earth, but only 160 of them have survived to this day.
Once upon a time, moa ostriches were also found in New Zealand. Then primitive settlers arrived there from the mainland, who launched a hunt for them, and several centuries ago the last moas were exterminated.
In 2006, the last baiji, Chinese river dolphins, died out due to pollution of the river waters.
Extinct animals were often larger than their modern ancestors. So, Deinosuchus, ancient crocodiles, reached 15-16 meters in length, and weighed up to 15 tons. They died out 70 million years ago.
Gigantopithecus were the largest of the extinct primates. These ancient monkeys weighed about half a ton, and their height reached 4 meters.
Shrimp are not only small. So, the extinct animals anomalocaris, which inhabited almost all the seas and oceans half a billion years ago, were precisely two-meter shrimp.
The largest ancient dinosaur was the herbivorous patagotitan, similar to diplodocus and living on the territory of modern Argentina. With a body length of up to 37 meters, its weight could reach 70 tons.
The largest land predator ever to walk the Earth was the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex. With a length of about 12 meters, they weighed up to 10 tons.
Some ancient animals were truly creepy. For example, Arthropleura, the largest invertebrate that ever lived on our planet. It was an omnivorous predatory centipede 2.5 meters long, eating both vegetation and meat.
According to statistics, about 99.9% of all species that have ever existed on earth have become extinct.
The largest extinct snake was the titanoboa, a relative of living boas. With a length of up to 15 meters, this ancient snake weighed about 1 ton.