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Modern Animals With Terrifying Prehistoric Ancestors
From scorpions, sharks, and lions … to rhinos, hippos, and wombats … Here are 18 Modern Animals With Terrifying Prehistoric Ancestors!
Experts say Mega Piranhas were ferocious fish that would have measured more than 4 feet long (122 cm), and had a double row of scary sharp teeth comparable to the modern day Pacu (pah-KOO). Its closest living relative is the Black Piranha, which is noted for exerting a devastating bite force that is more than 30 times its weight. But experts say that the Megapiranha’s bite force would have been at least four times stronger!
#19 Devil Frog
Translated from Latin Beelzebufo (bee-el-zeh-BOOF-oh) means “Devil Frog”. And that applies to this animal. 70 million years ago this beast preyed upon juvenile dinosaurs with a powerful bite force. Experts think it could have attained lengths of nearly 16 inches (40 cm) and weighed about 10 pounds (4.5 kg). Imagine a frog about the size of a bowling ball and you’ve got the picture. This animal was found in Madagascar, and also had a large head covered with bony scales, or scutes (s’kewts). That’s a physical trait typically found in crocs and alligators, so this must have been one aggressive amphibian.
#18 Stupendemys (STOO-pen-dih-mees)
Fossils of this huge prehistoric freshwater turtle have been located in South America, dating back some 6 million years ago. Based on fossil evidence, the creature probably had a carapace length of around 11 feet (3.4 m). With an estimated weight of around 4,400 pounds (2 metric tons) that would make it the largest freshwater turtle ever. Experts think the reptile attained its massive size as a way to protect itself from the huge crocodiles and other predators found in its habitat.
Many scorpions are considered to be small and deadly, and carry a fearsome reputation. But the prehistoric monster Pulmonoscorpius (pul-mon-oh-skor-pee-us) measured more than 2 feet, (70 cm) and would have looked like a real nightmare. They lived up to around 345 million years ago, so they’ve been extinct for quite a while. Just as well.
#16 Millipedes and Centipedes
Arthropleura (ar-thra-ploo-rah) was an ancestor to both of these creepy-crawlies, and could grow up to 8 feet long (2.4 m) while measuring several feet wide. Some sources claim it was even bigger than that. Contrast its size with the largest modern day centipedes which can grow up to 12 inches long (30 cm). Thanks to their great size, these animals had very few predators for an invertebrate. This herbivorous arthropod lived around 300 million years ago in modern-day Scotland and North America. And researchers say it was extremely swift and agile. Today’s house centipedes are also very quick. Can you imagine one of them being 8 feet long?