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Shvoong Home>Science>Amazing prehistoric creatures Summary

Amazing prehistoric creatures

Book Summary   by:Anthonyl1973     Original Author: Anthony Lawrence
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Various fascinating creatures have walked on Earth. Some evolved into creatures we are familiar with today and others died out. Woolly Mammoth

The Woolly Mammoth was bigger than its modern elephant relatives and was the largest land animal alive during the late Pleistocene epoch. Their closest living relatives are the Indian elephants. The Woolly Mammoth was a cold climate dweller equipped with a thick layer of fat for insulation, and an exterior of long black hair. Several well preserved remains have been found in Siberia and Alaska and cave paintings in Spain and France show depictions of the Wooly Mammoth as seen by early humans. Mammoths roamed North America as recently as ten thousand years ago. Their extinction on the continent is thought to have been hastened by the Ice Age people who hunted them for their hide and meat. Saber Tooth Tiger

Saber Tooth Tigers probably lived in grassy plains, open woodlands, and other dry areas. Saber Tooth Tigers feasted on large animals such as, horses, buffalo, deer, and antelope. They are among the most impressive carnivores that ever have lived. This extinct cat had a short tail, strong front legs and canine teeth up to seven inches long. These characteristics and others indicate that it ambushed prey animals rather than chasing them down. Uintatherium

Uintatherium was one of the many bizarre mammals roaming North America during the late Eocene epoch. This bulky, hoofed animal was larger than a modern rhinoceros and sported an array of short, knobby horns which grew upward from its nasal bones. In addition, a pair of dagger-like canine tusks jutted downward from its upper jaw.
Uintatherium was an ancient, distant cousin of horses, elephants and whales.HyracotheriumHyracotherium, the ancestor of the modern horse, first appeared in the early Eocene epoch in the forests of North America. Also known as Eohippus, the "Dawn Horse", it was the size of a small dog. Unlike horses today, this primitive horse had several toes on each foot.Mastodon

This unusual large mammal lived in North America during the Pleistocene epoch until the end of the ice age. It roamed the earth for over a million years, but suddenly disappeared, perhaps because of the climate changes. It was one of the largest land animals living during the ice age. Mastodon belonged to the family Mammutidae, that originated in North Africa, spreading to Eurasia and entering North America 15 million years ago. Mastodons living during the middle of the last glaciation were small, whereas those living later in forests were larger.Coelodonta

Coelodonta or the wooly rhino was a huge beast that lived in during the last ice age. The Coelodonta had a massive body and a thick, shaggy coat that protected it against the harsh climate of the tundra and steppe that bordered the great glaciers of the Northern Hemisphere. Coelodonta had a pair of huge horns on its snout that reached lengths of up to 3ft in the largest of males. These creatures were hunted by early humans and they were depicted on the walls of caves in France 30,000 years ago.Meganeurid

Meganeurids were giant dragonflies that lived 311 to 282 million years ago. These creatures were the largest flying insects that ever lived and were spread across the world, the largest ones having been found fossilized in coal forming swamplands. The Meganeurids were top predators that snatched their prey on the wing and their bodies were well adapted for this work.During the Carboniferous period these eagles of their age reached their peak, but a decline in their favorite swampy habitats, and possibly less oxygen in the atmosphere, led to their extinction in the early Permian period and a smaller, modern dragonfly species took their place.GorgonopsiaGorgonopsia were reptile-like mammals that were among the largest carnivores of the latePermian age. Their name is a reference to the Gorgons of Greek mythology, renowned for their power. Gorgonopsia includes three subfamilies, the Gorgonopsinae, Rubidgeinae and Inostranceviinae, plus a larger number that have not been placed in any of these groups. The largest known, Inostrancevia was the size of a large bear, with a 45cm long skull and 12cm long sabre-like teeth and was clearly a successful carnivore.Hyneria

Hyneria was a prehistoric predatory lobe-finned fish that lived during the Devonian period. It was approximately three to four meters in length and weighed as much as two tons. Fossilized teeth, bones and a tail fin were found at Red Hill. It was probably the fiercest predator at Red Hill.EuparkeriaEuparkeria was a small, early, land-dwelling reptile. Euparkeria had relatively long hind legs, and may have been at least semi-bipedal, making it one of the earliest reptiles to walk on two legs, a feature that would be retained in some dinosaurs and early crocodilians. This carnivore had a long tail, four-fingered hands, large, flexible jaws and many sharp, serrated teeth in sockets. It was about 1.5 ft long. Euparkeria dates from the early Triassic period, about 225 million years ago. Fossils have only been found in southern Africa.
Published: March 11, 2007   
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