Unusual Prehistoric Creatures


Unusual Prehistoric Creatures

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There are plenty of strange animals living today, but few people know how odd some of the creatures of the past were.

Deinotherium

deinotherium_small-tmThis genus of elephant-like creatures was not only huge, but they also had a pair of chin tusks.

Therizinosauridaes

1243378744-therizinosaur300-tmThis family of strange, mysterious theropods was notable for their long necks and their large claws.

Epidexipteryx

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This bird-like dinosaur reveals an interesting part about the evolutionary history of birds.

Epidendrosaurus

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Another bird-like dinosaur, this one belonged in the same family as Epidexipteryx. It is currently the earliest dinosaur known to have adapted for life in the trees, an important moment in the evolution of birds.

Microraptor

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Yet another bird-like dinosaur, this dinosaur had four wings (and a feathered tail), although it could not fly. Instead, it likely glided from place to place, kind of like a flying squirrel.

Longisquama

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Living during the Triassic, Longisquama was a small, lizard like creature that appears to have had a series of long feathers on its back.

Tanystropheus

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When I describe a long necked reptile, most people think of sauropods or even plesiosaurs. This Triassic reptile was neither of these. This reptile was 20 feet long, yet had a 10 foot long neck!

Sharovipteryx

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Another gliding reptile, this Triassic critter glided similarly to Microraptor. However, Sharovipteryx had two “wings” on its hind legs and two small “wings” on its front legs.

Nyctosaurus

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This genus of pterosaurs is the only one that does not have claws on its wings. Otherwise, most species looked quite average, similar to the famous Pterodon… until a new, currently unnamed species was discovered in 2003.

Pterodaustro

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This pterosaur had an unusual set of teeth, similar to the baleen of some whales. It almost certainly used these teeth to eat small, aquatic organisms, similar to the way a flamingo eats brine shrimp.

Stethacanthus

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Sharks have lasted for over 400 million years. Although they have remained relatively unchanged throughout the fossil record, there are definitely some odd balls.

Helicoprion

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This bizarre fossil was originally thought to be an ammonite, as the fossil looked like a spiraling, circular shell. However, after some examination, it was revealed that is wasn’t a shell, but a spiraling set of shark teeth, a “tooth whirl”.

Deinocheirus

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The only fossil of this dinosaur is a pair of arms. These arms look like they belonged to an ornithomimid but they were 8 feet long. This means that either Deinocheirus towered over the rest of the ornithomimids (and most theropods, since, regarding proportions, it would have been 40 feet long!) or it simply had very long arms for its body.

Amphicoelias fragillimus

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This elusive fossil was discovered by the famed paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope, the same man who competed with Othniel Charles Marsh in the infamous “Bone Wars”. Cope discovered many prehistoric fossils, but this one is, by far, the oddest. The only fossil that exists of it was a single vertebra fragment. It was 5 feet high, estimated to be 8.8 feet high if the entire fossil was intact. Compare that to your vertebrae.



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