The most horrible prehistoric ancestors of modern animals
Today man is the dominant predator on the planet. Nevertheless, we have taken this position in a relatively short period of time - the earliest known representatives of human, Homo habilis, the first time there was about 2, 3 million years ago.
Despite the fact that we dominate over the animals to this day, many of these animals are extinct ancestors that were much larger and stronger than those with which we are familiar. The ancestors of these animals looked like creatures of our worst nightmares. Frightening is that if humanity will disappear, or simply lose their dominance - these creatures, or similar ones, have the potential to restore the right to exist.
Today, sloths slowly climb trees and do not pose a threat to the animals who live in the Amazon. Their ancestors were the complete opposite. In the Pliocene epoch, Megatherium was a giant sloth in South America, he weighed up to four tons and up to 6 meters in length from head to tail.
Although they mostly moved on four legs, the tracks show that he is able to stand on 2 legs, in order to reach the leaves of tall trees. It was the size of a modern elephant, and yet was not the biggest animal in its habitat!
Archaeologists suggest that the Megatherium was a scavenger, and the carcasses of dead animals steal from other carnivores. Megatherium was also one of the last giant mammals of the Ice Age before their complete disappearance. Their remains appear relatively late in the fossil record, in the Holocene - the period in which saw the rise of humanity. It makes a person most likely culprit disappearance of Megatherium.
When we think about the giant ape, we usually think of the fictional King Kong, but the giant ape really existed for a long time. Gigantopithecus - a monkey, which existed around the time of the 9 million to 100 thousand years ago, about the same period as the other representatives of the family of hominids.
On fossils shows that the special type of Gigantopithecus were the largest apes that ever existed, standing they reached nearly 3 meters and weighed half a ton. Scientists were unable to determine the cause of the extinction of the giant ape. However, some crypto-zoologists suggest that the "observation" of Bigfoot and the Yeti can be associated with a lost generation of Gigantopithecus.
3. Armored fish
Dunkleosteus (lat. Dunkleosteus) was the largest of the prehistoric crustacean fish placoderms (lat. Placodermi). Her head and chest were covered by articulated armored plate. Instead of teeth, these fish had two pairs of acute bone plates which are formed klyuvnymi structure.
Dunkleosteus probably been exterminated placoderms others who have had the same bone plate for protection, their jaws powerful enough to cut and pierce armored prey. One of the largest known specimens found, was 10 meters long and weighed four tons, making it one of the fish that you definitely would not want to catch a spinning!
This fish was not picky eating habits, eating fish, sharks and even the fish of his family. But probably they have suffered from indigestion, provoked poluperevarivavshihsya fossil fish remains. Scientists from the University of Chicago concluded that Dunkleosteus had the second strongest bite among fish. These giant armored fish have become extinct during the transition from the Devonian to the Carboniferous period.
Most of flightless birds today - ostrich or a penguin, for example, do not carry dangers for man, however, was a flightless bird that terrorized the earth.
Phorusrhacidae, also known as "bird-terrorist" from the type of prey and flightless birds that were the largest species of predators in South America during the period from 62 million to 2 million years ago. They reach about 1-3 meters in height. Prey terrorist birds were small mammals ... and by the way the horse. They used their massive beaks to kill two ways: raising small prey and throwing her to the ground, or causing surgical strikes on important parts of the body.
Despite the fact that archaeologists have not yet fully decided on the causes of extinction of this species, the last of his fossils appear at about the same time as the first humans.
5. The Haast's eagle
Birds of prey have always left their mark on the human psyche. Fortunately, we have a lot more than the largest eagle. However, once there were birds of prey that were large enough to prey on humans.
Eagle Haast lived in the South Island of New Zealand, and was the largest of the known eagles, weighing 16 kg, with a wingspan of 3 meters. Extraction yavlyalis140 kilogram moa flightless birds that have not been able to protect itself from impact force and speed of eagles, which reached a speed of 60 km per hour.
Legends of some of the first settlers Maori say that these eagles can pick up and eat small children. But first settlers in New Zealand hunted mainly on large flightless birds, including all kinds of moa, which ultimately led to their disappearance. The loss of natural prey caused the extinction of Haast eagle, when his natural power source has been depleted.
6. The giant lizard ripper
Today, the Komodo dragon - scary reptile and the largest lizard in the world, but it would be small compared with its ancient ancestors. Megalania, also known as the "Giant lizard Ripper" - a very large lizard. The exact proportions of the creatures were different, but recent studies have shown that Megalania length was about 7 meters and a weight of 600 to 620 kg, making it the largest terrestrial lizard of all existing.
His diet consisted of marsupials: giant kangaroos and wombats. Megalania belongs to a clan toxicofera, possessing poison-secreting glands, the largest lizard poisonous vertebrate ever known. Although we could not conceive of such a size dinosaurs living in the province, the first Australian Aborigines may have encountered with live Megalania. View most likely became extinct when the first settlers hunted Megalania using them for food.
7. The short-faced bear
Bears are one of the largest mammals on Earth, for the polar bear, even held the title of the largest of all predators on land. Arctodus - also known as the short-faced bear, lived in North America during the Pleistocene. Short-faced bear weighed about one ton, and standing on his hind legs reach a height of 4 to 6 meters, making the short-faced bear the largest mammal predator that has ever existed.
While the short-faced bear was very large predator, archaeologists have found that it was actually a scavenger. Being a scavenger, however, it is not a bad idea, especially when you are fighting with saber-toothed tigers and wolves for food. Like most other large animals of the Pleistocene era, the short-faced bear had lost most of their food sources with the arrival of humans.
Modern crocodiles - living dinosaurs, but there was a time when crocodiles were hunted and ate the aforementioned dinosaurs. Deinosuchus (Latin Deinosuchus.) - is an extinct species, related to alligators and crocodiles, which lived during the Cretaceous period. Deinosuchus translated from Greek as "terrible crocodile".
This crocodile was much larger than any of the modern, up to 12 meters in size and weighing ten tons. His appearance was similar to their smaller relatives, more reliably established teeth for crushing, and back covered with armored plates of bone.
The main prey deinosuchus were big dinosaurs (who else can boast of?), And in addition to them sea turtles, fish and other unfortunate victims. Potential evidence of danger deinosuchus come from Albertosaurus fossils. This hole pattern of the teeth and deinosuchus Tirranozavra Rex, which means that there are great chances that these two violent predator participated in bloody battles.
No creature is more fear in the human psyche than a snake. Today, the largest snake is the reticulated python, its average length of 7 meters.
In 2009, archaeologists made a shocking discovery in Colombia by comparing the shapes and sizes of fossilized vertebrae of modern snakes with ancient snake titanoboa reached a maximum length of 12 to 15 meters and weigh up to 1,100 kg, making it the largest snake ever to crawl on the planet. Since this is a recent discovery, little is known about titanoboa, but we know one thing: the 15-meter snake scared the whole wide world, no matter have a phobia or not.
Until 1975, phobias, most people concerned mainly snakes and spiders. That all changed when the film Jaws was released, the antagonist of the film appeared the great white shark (non-existent), which resulted in a fit of many people and did not let go in the ocean. Today, the largest great white sharks tend to reach 6 meters in length and weigh 2200 kg. However, once there was a shark, which was twice the largest modern great white sharks.
Megalodon - means "big tooth" - a shark that lived between 28 and 1, 5 million years ago.. All of Megalodon was with the prefix "mega": his teeth were 18 cm, and the remains of fossils indicate that this giant shark reached a maximum length of 16-20 meters. While today the great white sharks hunt seals, megaladon have eaten whales. Scientists suggest that this species became extinct because of ocean cooling, falling sea levels and reduce food sources. If there was a chance that megaladon existed in our time, a man would not have had access to the sea. However, in a gigantic ocean, the abyss may be hiding a great white shark, and there is always a chance that something like megaladona return to the world.