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No one today can really get a full idea of what it was like to live surrounded by dinosaurs. While today we know that some animals like killer whales, alligators, lions and other big predators can be threatening to us humans, none of these can compare to the danger that dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals represented. Today we’ll have a look at ten animals that were scarier than dinosaurs. You’ll realize that dinosaurs were harmless and perhaps even friendly compared to the beasts I’ll show you today. I’ll also talk about some of the movies that fed us ideas of what these animals were like, and I’ll compare those ideas to actual facts that will make you understand how real life creatures were in fact a bit scarier than what we see on the screen. Stay tuned all the way to number one and find out about an animal that you’ll be thankful to know it’s gone extinct.
I’m going to start with an animal that was not as big as a dinosaur. In fact, it wasn’t even a carnivore! But I’m sure you’d be quite scared and probably a bit grossed out if you were to encounter it today. And I’m pretty sure you’d rather see a dinosaur instead of this animal. The Arthropleura was a millipede that could reach lengths of up to 2.5 meters, which means, if it were to stand on the lower end of its thousand feet, it would be higher than a christmas tree! The Arthropleura is known to be the largest invertebrate of all time. With such aspect, I doubt any predators wanted to mess with it.
Yikes! Even the name sounds scary already. If you’re wondering what this animal looked like, let me start by pointing out that the Dunkleosteus was a fish! Of course, we’re not talking about a cute tropical fish or even a shark like the one from Jaws. This prehistoric fish was 33 feet long! Which means it was almost twice as long as the height of a giraffe from its head to its feet. However, what makes this animal threatening is not only its size, but also its sharp teeth. The bones in its jaw kept growing continuously, up until a point where their edges would become so sharp as they rubbed together against each other. These were useful tools to pierce and chew on their prey . This fish was as heavy as a hippopotamus and could easily snatch its prey in less than a second.
The Jaekelopterus was an aquatic arthropod. The best way to explain it is by pointing out that some people call it a “Giant Sea Scorpion” - can you picture that? If scorpions are scary already, I don’t want to imagine what it would be like to come face to face with a giant one in the middle of the ocean! It’s an experience that would definitely keep me away from the waters for good. The name Jaekelopterus comes from Otto Jaekel, a German paleontologist who was the first one to describe the species. Although its maximum size has not been confirmed, some experts believed the largest Jaekelopterus could have reached a length of 2.5 meters, making it taller than humans if it were to stand. This animal is believed to have lived in freshwater, making it a threat to other arthropods and smaller fish. Poor animals didn’t stand a chance against this huge creature!
And here is another fish on our list! Or...maybe not. One of the craziest facts about the helicoprion is that no one has been able to properly classify it and associate it to the animal groups we have today. We can say it’s a fish because it lived in the water, but paleontologists didn’t have enough information to categorize it. Its teeth worked like a circular blade. Without any proper teeth in the upper jaw, this creature could gum you and bite you at the same time..quite scary and gross! The lower teeth were sharp, so it’s safe to assume that the helicoprion was a carnivore! What scientists can’t figure out yet is whether it fed on small or big animals - they can only speculate as they still haven’t found any remains of a skull to properly figure out what its diet was. One thing is for sure, that odd looking jaw is more than enough to scare us all if we were to encounter it in the ocean today.
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