10 TERRIFYING Creatures You'll Be Glad Are No Longer Around!
- Published on: 5/8/2020
- Hi, it’s Katrina! From enormous predatory birds that could pummel their prey, to animals scientists are trying to bring back to life, here are 10 extinct creatures you should definitely know about!
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10. The Giant Swan
Cygnus falconeri, also known as the Maltese swan or giant swan, is an extremely large extinct swan species that lived during the Pleistocene period, around 125,000 years ago, when Malta and Sicily were connected by a land bridge. Researchers originally thought that it only lived in Malta, but in 2004, giant swan remains were discovered in Sicily.
Discovered in northeastern Colombia’s Cerrejón Formation in 2005 and known by a single specimen, Carbonemys cofrinii is an extinct turtle that dwelled in South American swamps during the Paleocene Era, around 60 million years ago. The ancient turtle shared a habitat with the Titanoboa, you know, the one-ton prehistoric snake! It grew to the size of a small car, reaching up to 10 feet (3 meters) long and weighing as much as a ton.
Purussaurus brasiliensis was a giant, caiman-like crocodilian that flourished primarily in northwestern South America (Pan-Amazonia) during the Middle to Late Miocene. It was around 41 feet (12.5 meters) long -- longer than a city bus -- and weighed around 9.3 tons (8.4 metric tons). The creature’s skull alone was up to five feet (1.4 meters) long, and it required a massive diet of up to 90 pounds (40.6 kg) of food daily.
7. Steller’s Sea Cow
Hydrodamalis gigas, or the Steller’s sea cow, was a marine mammal related to sirenians, which includes the modern-day dugong and manatee, as well as two other surviving species. Unlike today’s sirenians, which dwell in tropical waters, the extinct Steller’s sea cow lived in the frigid North Pacific Ocean, between Alaska and Russia.
6. Terror Birds
Once the velociraptor and T-Rex were wiped out 66 million years ago, the terror bird took over the world! Not really, but they were pretty scary, and were one of the most terrifying predators of what is now South America, and stayed that way until about 2 million years ago!
Five hundred million years ago during the Cambrian period, Anomalocaris, an apex predator resembling a strange combination of a shrimp, shark, and seahorse lived in the world’s oceans.
This Siberian Unicorn was an ice age giant, and lived at the same time as modern humans. Elasmotherium sibiricum, otherwise known as giant rhinoceros or the giant Siberian unicorn, is an extinct Eurasian rhino species that lived from 2.6 million years ago until about 39,000 years ago. It spent its days grazing the grasslands of modern-day Kazakhstan, Siberia, and southwestern Russia and Ukraine.
3. Arctotherium Angustidens
Also called the South American short-faced bear, it was the largest bear that ever existed. First described in 1880, it was one of five Arctotherium species, and was descended from ancestors that crossed the Panamanian land bridge to South America roughly three million years ago.
2. Great Auk
The Great Auk was a flightless bird that resembled a modern penguin, but at 30 inches (76.2 cm) tall, it was more scary than cute. It had disproportionately small wings measuring just 6 inches (15 cm) long, and a beak nearly as large as its head. This species, which was unrelated to penguins despite looking like one, bred off North Atlantic coasts on rocky islands.
The glyptodon is an extinct prehistoric armadillo the size of a car, with a spiky, clubbed tail that was capable of causing extensive damage. It grew up to 10 feet (3 meters) long, weighed as much as a ton, and had an armored back made up of 1,000 or so tightly-fitted bony plates.
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