We have already published a few posts about dinosaurs, the largest creatures that have ever roamed on Earth but in fact, in the prehistoric era, almost all animals as well as plants were much bigger than their modern counterparts. From an elephant-size sloth to a car-size armadillo, check out these 25 giant prehistoric ancestors that would make their contemporary relatives look like dwarfs.
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If you think modern sharks are large and terrifying, you probably haven´t heard of megalodon. Meaning “big tooth”, Megalodon is an extinct species of giant shark that lived approximately 28 to 1.5 million years ago. Thanks to its incredible length of up to 60 feet (over 18 m), it’s considered one of the largest and most powerful predators ever. Distributed worldwide, Megalodon basically looked like a much larger and formidable version of the great white shark.
These days, the Chinese giant salamander with a length of up to 6 feet (180 cm) is the largest amphibian in the world. While it may sound impressive by modern standards, compared to the size of prionosuchus, it’s a totally negligible number. Living in the Middle Permian (270 million years ago) in today Brazil, this crocodile-like creature reached an estimated length of 30 feet (9 m). It had an elongated snout, sharp teeth, short legs, and a tail adapted for swimming.
Even insect species have their giant prehistoric relatives. Meganeura was a genus of extinct insects from the Carboniferous period which are related to present-day dragonflies. With wingspans of up to 26 inches (almost 70 cm), it is one of the largest known flying insect species that ever lived on Earth. Meganeura was a predator with its diet consisted mainly of other insects and small amphibians.
The pink fairy armadillo, the smallest living species of armadillo, weighing about 4.2 oz (120 g) and measuring about 4 inches (10 cm), comes from the glyptodont, a giant armadillo that lived during the Pleistocene epoch. Reaching well over 10 feet (3 m) in length, and a weighing up to 2 tons, this prehistoric armored herbivore was the size of a small car.
Disturbingly similar to the fictional giant ape King Kong, gigantopithecus was a real animal living between 9 million to 100,000 years ago in today’s Asia. Standing up to 10 feet (3m) tall and weighing up to 1,200 pounds (540 kg), it was the largest ape on Earth. The creature is believed to have walked on all fours like modern gorillas and chimpanzees; however, a minority opinion favors bipedal, human-like locomotion.