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10 most extinct unusual animals

Extinct Unusual Animals

1. Moe Bird

For millions of years, nine species of large flightless birds, known as moas (Dinornithiformes), flourished in New Zealand. Then, about 600 years ago, they suddenly went extinct. His death coincided with the arrival of the first humans on the islands in the late 13th century, and scientists have long wondered what role hunting by Homo sapiens played in the moa’s decline. Did we single-handedly drive the giant birds to the brink of the abyss, or have they already been driven out by disease and volcanic eruptions? Now, a new genetic study of moa fossils points to humanity as the sole culprit in the bird’s extinction. The study adds to the ongoing debate over whether people of the past hunted and hunted animals sustainably or were largely to blame for the destruction of many species.


2. Longisquama

Judging from its only incomplete fossil specimen, Longisquama was closely related to other small, gliding reptiles of the Triassic period, such as Cuenosaurus and Ikarosaurus. The difference is that these latter reptiles have flat, butterfly-like skinned wings, while Longisquama vertebrates have thin, narrow wings, the exact orientation of which is an ongoing mystery. It is possible that these feather-like structures stretched from side to side and gave Longisquama a bit of a “lift” when it jumped from branch to branch of tall trees, or that they stood upright and served a strictly ornamental function, perhaps sexual.

Longisquama Headden updated skeletal.png
3. Chalicotherium

Chalicotherium is a classic example of rare megafauna from the Miocene epoch, about 15 million years ago: this giant mammal is virtually unclassified, with no direct living descendants. We know that Chelicotherium was a perissodactyl (i.e., a browsing mammal with an odd number of toes on its feet), which would have made it a distant relative of modern horses and tapirs. Still, it no longer looked like (and probably used to behave like) ). Medium-sized mammal is alive today.


4. Jaekelopterus

Sea scorpion, This sea scorpion lived about 390 million years ago and is one of the largest arthropods ever discovered. Sea scorpions (Order Eurypterida) were sea creatures related to arachnids that became extinct 252 million years ago. Fossil remains of Zekelopterus show that it measured up to 8.2 meters in length. It had a pair of long, jointed, claw-like chelicerae that were used to capture prey and were considered top predators at the time.

Image of how Jaekelopterus would have appeared in life
5. Therizinosaurus

Before World War II, Inner Mongolia was accessible (although not easily traversed) to any country with sufficient funds and interest, as evidenced by the 1922 expedition of Roy Chapman Andrews, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. . But after the Cold War was in full swing, in 1948, it was the turn of a joint Soviet and Mongolian expedition to excavate a “type specimen” of Therizinosaurus from the famed Nemegut Formation in the Gobi Desert.

Therizinosaurus Restoration.png

6. Ceratogaulus

Ceratogulus appears in the episode “Stranger from the Mysterious Above”. They are shown to live in fear of a dinosaur they call the Great Terrible Beast, which scares them because of their small size. They believe that a hero will come to rescue them from the mysterious above-surface world. This prophecy is fulfilled in the episode of Spike, who falls into his lair and is taken as his mythical hero. He ends up chasing the animal because it’s much bigger than it (not a huge dinosaur despite being big enough to scare off Ceratogulus).

7. Quagga

The quagga was a plains zebra found in South Africa that became extinct at the end of the 19th century. More closely related to the zebra than to the horse, the quagga looked like a mixture of both. The back of its body was brown without any pattern, while the front was striped brown and white, like the stripes on a zebra. This pattern of stripes varies from person to person. The quagga was long thought to be a separate species, but DNA analysis revealed that it was a subspecies of the plains zebra.

Quagga photo.jpg

8. Helicoprion

Helicoprion (meaning “spiral saw”) is an extinct genus of whorl-toothed ratfish that originated in the Late Carboniferous oceans about 280 million years ago and survived the Permian–Triassic extinction event and eventually became part of the Early became extinct during Triassic, about 225 million years ago. Its fossils can be found in Russia and the western US, but no other jaws or parts of a shark have ever been found.

Helicoprion reccon.png
9. Opabinia

Opabinia is a genus of extinct stem arthropod found in Cambrian fossil deposits. The only known species, O. Regalis is known from the Central Cambrian Burgess Shale Lagerstatt in British Columbia, Canada. Fewer than twenty good specimens have been described; 3 instances of Opebinia are known from the Greater Phyllopod Bed, where they constitute less than 0.1% of the community. Opabinia was a soft-bodied animal of modest size and had lobes and fan-shaped tails on the sides of its segmented body. The head shows unusual features:

  • Five eyes.
  • A mouth at the bottom of the head and back.
  • A proboscis that probably passed food into the mouth.

10. Hallucigenia

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what an animal would have looked like when it went extinct 400 million years ago; ask Hallucigenia. Scientists have studied the thumb-sized worm for more than 50 years and have just discovered which end of the head it is.

A new model of the creature includes:

  • A ring of teeth around its mouth.
  • A simple pair of eyes.
  • A forelimb with tiny teeth.

The discovery means that Hallucigenia is not only understandable now, but it is also more frightening than we thought.

NMNH-USNM83935 Hallucigeniasp (cropped).jpg



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