25 Interesting Facts About Extinct Animals
Ancient animals, now extinct, still keep amazing paleontologists and biologists. The diversity of life on Earth was once much greater than it is today, and fossil evidence confirms this. But evolution is merciless, and many ancient animals could not adapt to the changing conditions of life and disappeared from the face of the planet.
Amazing facts about extinct animals
- There were hundreds of times more extinct species than life on Earth now.
- Jellyfishes are one of the most ancient animals. They appeared about 600 million years ago, and almost haven’t changed since then, though some of their species had extinct.
- Many extinct animals have living relatives like them. There are elephants and rhinos now, and 10-20k years ago woolly rhinos and mammoths existed in the North (check 35 amazing facts about rhinos).
- Blue whales are larger than most of the extinct animals that have ever inhabited our planet.
- 40k years ago there were megalanias existing, giant lizards in the length of 30 feet (9 meters) and weighing 2 tons. Modern Komodo dragons are very similar to them, but they are much smaller.
- Primitive people in North America had to fear phororhacoses (also known as andalgalornis), huge predatory flightless birds. Phororhacoses reached 9 feet of height (3 meters)! However, the primitive hunters successfully exterminated them all.
- The largest extinct shark is the megalodon. These fish reached ~90 feet of length (30 meters), which is comparable to the height of a 10-story building.
- Another interesting extinct animal is the saber-toothed tiger also known as smilodon. It became extinct only about 10,000 years ago, after large animals like the mammoths it hunted disappeared.
- Some extinct marine animals were notorious predators. Such was, for example, the basilosaurus, a predatory whale, much larger than modern sperm whales.
- The largest land predator that ever existed on Earth was the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex. With a length of about 40 feet (12 meters), these creatures weighed up to 10 tons.
- About 12 thousand years ago there were other ancient animals — short-faced bears. With a length of 11-12 feet (about 3.5 meters) and a weight of a ton or more, they were even larger than polar bears.
- One of the subspecies of zebras, quagga, became extinct recently, as did the Dodo bird and the marsupial wolf.
- Lions are dangerous and skillful predators, but about 30 thousand years ago in Africa, there were other extinct animals, marsupial lions, relatively small but agile predators weighing 220-260 pounds (100-120 kg) and up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) long.
- The largest extinct birds were the argentavis existed in South America. Their wingspan reached 23 feet (8 meters). This carnivore weighed up to 155 pounds (70 kg).
- In Ireland, 8-9k years ago giant deers existed. The width of their horns exceeded 10-11 feet (3.5 meters).
- There were about 6000 species of ancient monkeys on Earth, but only 160 of them have survived to the present time.
- Moa ostriches once existed in New Zealand. But primitive settlers who came from the mainland launched a hunt for them, and a few centuries ago the last moa was exterminated.
- In 2006, due to the pollution of river waters, the last Chinese river dolphins Baiji became extinct.
- Extinct animals often surpassed their modern ancestors in size. Deinosuchus, the ancient crocodile, reached 50 feet (15 meters) of length and weighed up to 15 tons. They became extinct 70 million years ago.
- Gigantopithecus was the largest extinct primate. These ancient monkeys weighed about half a ton, and their growth reached 13 feet (4 meters).
- 2 million years ago, the last anomalocaris, giant shrimp, became extinct. They had a body length up to 6 feet (2 meters).
- The largest ancient dinosaur known is a herbivore Patagotitan mayorum existed in the territory of modern Argentina. With a body length of up to 120 feet (37 meters) its weight reached 70 tons.
- The largest extinct snake is titanoboa, a relative of living Boas. With a length of up to 50 feet (15 meters) this ancient snake weighed about 1 ton.
- According to statistics, about 99.9% of all species that ever existed on Earth are extinct.
- Some ancient animals were truly terrifying. For example, arthropleura, the largest invertebrate that ever lived on our planet. It was an omnivorous predatory centipede 8 feet (2.5 meters) long.