20 Strangest Prehistoric Creatures That Really Existed

11 months ago
From giant penguins and chickens … to dinosaurs bigger than T-rex … Here are 20 of the strangest prehistoric creatures that really existed

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#6 Rodhocetus (rah-doh-SEE-tus)
This unique creature lived until around 40 million years ago … and scientists say it offers an example of mammals evolution as they transitioned from the sea to the land. It belonged to the infraorder of Cetacea, which includes whales and dolphins. In fact, it is believed to have been an Eocene whale that displayed webbed hands and feet attached to short limbs, which lent it the physical characteristics of land mammals.

#5 Undercover Dinosaur
Psittacosaurus means “Parrot Lizard” … it got its name due to its beak, which resembled that of the colorful bird. Researchers say it was roaming about present day Asia between 126 and 100 million years ago. What was really unusual about this creature was that it apparently used a form of countershading. That’s a type of camouflage often used by animals to blend into their environment by altering their colors, and evade their predators. Experts confirmed the animal’s countershading abilities by using a well preserved fossil from China They reconstructed the creature’s color patterns … and that revealed a lighter underside with darker coloring on top. That contrast would have enabled the beast to stay hidden in the forests. Scientists say that Psittacosaurus would have weighed about 20 kilograms (44 lbs), measured about 2 meters long (6.5 ft) and probably walked bipedally.

#4 Spinosaurus (“SPINE-oh-SORE-uss”)
Its name means ‘spine lizard’ which is a good title for this theropod behemoth. It had spines measuring more than 5 feet tall growing out of its vertebrae, which supported a huge sail-like structure made of its skin. Its dimensions are staggering … more than 52 feet tall, that would make it nearly the length of two double decker buses. And weighing some 20 tons, that would make it weigh as much or more than a herd of Asian elephants. So no wonder that this is thought to be among the largest of any known carnivorous dinosaurs. Interesting to note that there is evidence suggesting that Spinosaurus may have lived both in the land and the water, not unlike modern day crocodilians. That time in the water could have been used to catch aquatic prey … researchers say this might be the first dinosaur identified as a swimmer. The animals lived about 94 million years ago in what is now present day North Africa.

#3 Quetzalcoatlus (ket-zul-ko-ah-tal-us)
The name of this pterosaur was inspired by the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl … and researchers say it was one of the largest flying animals that ever existed. Fossils of the creature were initially discovered in Big Bend National Park in Texas, in 1971. The remains were dated to nearly 70 million years … and gave evidence that the flying reptiles could have had a weight exceeding 500 pounds, with a wingspan that stretched more than 30 feet. Experts say that these critters were some real high fliers, too … able to achieve altitudes of 15,000 feet while flying 10 days straight at speeds of 80 miles per hour.

#2 Longisquama (long-is-KWAH-muh) (KUR-gih-stahn)
Experts still don’t know much about this unusual reptile. It existed around 235 million years ago, and is known from several incomplete fossil fossil impressions found in Kyrgyzstan. The critter’s distinctive physical feature (by far) are the 7 appendages that radiate from its back. The long and narrow structures resemble hockey sticks … and actually measure longer than the reptile’s body. Along with debate concerning what purpose those structures may have served, experts still debate whether or not the animal may (or may not) have been a type of prehistoric bird.

#1 Dunkleosteus
A hypercarnivorous apex predator describes a creature that is at the top of the food chain and loves meat … such animals usually have a diet that exceeds 70 percent meat. While that doesn't sound like a fish, it does describe Dunkleosteus. Weighing more than a ton and going some 20 feet long, this was an armored prehistoric fish that would reel YOU in (not the other way around). Instead, it had a beaklike structure composed of two bony plates in its mouth. That structure could exert a powerful bite force, along the lines of a crocodile. They were swimming around some 360 million years ago.

20 Strangest Prehistoric Creatures That Really Existed

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