10 Well-Preserved Fossils of Extinct Creatures That You Should Be Glad Are Not Alive.
Dunkleosteus terrelli, is often claimed by Scientists as “the first king of the beasts.” It was powerfully built and armour-plated round its head. It was streamlined and shark-like. Dunkleosteus was considered to be one of the most powerful prehistoric fish. Such was the strength of its bite that it could dissect a shark into two. Although it lacked teeth, it more than made up for it by possessing two long bony blades that could rip apart any prey to smithereens.
The creature lived 400 million years ago. Dunkleosteus was one of many species of placoderms, a diverse group of armored fishes that dominated aquatic ecosystems during the Devonian period, from 415 million to 360 million years ago.
As per Anderson and Mark Westneat, Curator of Fishes at the Field Museum in Chicago- “the fish could chomp with 1,100 pounds of force, which translates to 8,000 pounds per square inch at the tip of a fang.”
Piranhas suddenly feel like a walk in the park. (Source)
7 Archelon Ischyros- An extinct Sea Turtle
Archelon (from Greek αρχελών meaning ruler turtle) is a genus of extinct sea turtles, the largest that have ever been documented, and the second largest turtles documented, behind Stupendemys. These were believed to be slow movers and they rarely deep-dived except when hibernating on the seabed.
The first specimen of Archelon (YPM 3000) was collected from the Campanian-age Pierre Shale of South Dakota (a geological formation dated to 80.5 million years ago) by Dr. G.R. Wieland in 1895.
Archelon’s weight was estimated at more than 2200 kg (4,850 lb) and they were long distance swimmers as evident from their huge flippers. These creatures did not have the capability of crawling into their shell despite being easy prey for the large predators. (Source)
8 Trilobites- The forgotten predator
Trilobites are a fossil group of extinct marine arthropods that form the class Trilobita. The first appearance of Trilobites in the fossil record defines the base of the Atdabanian stage of the Early Cambrian period (521 million years ago) and these creatures finally disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian about 250 million years ago.
The major fascinating feature, that has captured the attention of researchers, paleontologists and paleobiologists alike, is the evolutionary development of these creatures through which they avoided any complicating, butterfly-style metamorphosis and instead grew larger by simply generating new segments toward the rear and then jacking itself apart. To quote Dr. Hughes, a trilobite specialist at the University of California, Riverside- “they can have scoops or shovels, be fantastically spiny or beautifully streamlined”.
Another interesting fact about Trilobites is the flawless specimen of Walliserops, a five-inch trilobite that swam the Devonian seas around what is now Morocco some 150 million years before the first dinosaurs hatched.
9 Well preserved 5 foot long Chasmosaurus Belli juvenile
Paleontologists have found a very “rare” fossil of a baby rhinoceroslike dinosaur in Canada. Believed to be just 3 years old and 5 feet (1.5 meters) long, the juveline predator’s fossils were so well-preserved that they left imprints of its skin on the rocks below it.
Paleontologists suspect these rhinoceros-like dinosaurs may have used their horns for defense, but evidence also suggests that the horns and the shield-like part of the skull could have been used to attract mates. The team was bone-hunting in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta when Philip Currie, a paleobiologist at the University of Alberta, came upon what looked like a turtle shell sticking out from a hillside. Upon closer inspection, the fossil turned out to be a frill, the bony decorative headgear that surrounds the back of the head in ceratopsids.
Surprisingly, even after drowning (which has been identified as the cause for its death), the fossil was untouched and sort-of hibernated in sediments associated with watery environments.
Perhaps, we all should be glad that this cute-looking monster did not end up enjoying his youthful days. (Source)
10 The claws of Therizinosaurus
Therizinosaurus belonged to a genus of massively-sized theropod dinosaurs.
Fossils of this species were first discovered in 1948 in Mongolia by a joint Soviet-Mongolian fossil expedition and was originally thought to belong to the turtle-like reptiles. Therizinosaurus are assumed to have small skulls atop long necks, with bipedal gaits and heavy, deep, broad bodies (as evidenced by the wide pelvis of other therizinosaurids). Their forelimbs may have reached lengths of up to 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) or even 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) in the largest known specimen. The most intriguing feature, or rather the most scary feature, about these creatures was the presence of gigantic claws on each of the three digits of their front limbs.
An idea about the enormous size of their claws could be made from the claw specimens that reached a length of 1 metre (3.3 ft). (Source)
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