Millions of species have come in and out of existence without us even knowing. Most people are familiar with the most commonly talked about, the dinosaurs, but here we bring you some lesser-known but absolutely ridiculous (and sometimes terrifying) creatures to have walked the Earth. Check out our list of 25 insanely ridiculous extinct creatures.
Passenger pigeons (not to be confused with carrier pigeons) were until recently the most abundant bird in the world. Martha, the last one, died in the Cincinatti Zoo in 1914. The birds were said to be so plentiful, Canadians in Ontario reported a flock in 1866 that was 1 mile (1.5km) wide, 300 miles (500kms) long, and took 14 hours to fly by. They estimated there to be over 3.5 billion birds in that flock alone.
Nicknamed the shovel tusker, this creature was a relative of the elephant. Rather than having a trunk, it sported what looks like a large duck’s bill. It’s believed they used this structure to pull bark off trees and pull branches down.
This marsupial, the largest known to have existed, looked like a saggy-skin wombat. It roamed most of Australia up to 25,000 years ago when it lived with the first indigenous people.
However weird this snail sounds, it never went hungry regardless of the era, with a plentiful supply of other animals’ feces.
Beyond just a character from Ice Age, woolly mammoths roamed the Northern Hemisphere’s frozen tundras and played a key role, dropping their, well, droppings wherever they went, which fertilized the land. Since their carcasses were largely frozen, their DNA is in quite good condition for potential cloning.
Woolly mammoths are better known then their massive fellow woollies, the fur-covered rhinoceros. Looking like a bison-rhino cross, the beast likely went extinct due to over-hunting.
Different from the video game character Crash Bandicoot, this cute little creature scurried around the plains of western Australia. Scientists disagree what made them extinct and whether they were lightning quick or slow as sloths.
An archetype for extinct species, the dodo was a flightless bird living on Mauritius, an island east of Madagascar. The dodo was one of a few animals which used gizzard stones for digestion. The stones, kept in the gastrointestinal tract, help break down food for animals without good grinding teeth.
A close relative of the still-living Tasmanian Devil, this tiger was an expert hunter. Looking like a dog with rabid stripes, the last one died in captivity in 1936.
This one is pure terrifying. A 20-million year carnivorous ruler of the sea, Dunkleosteus makes sharks look like kittens. Up to 33 feet (10m) in length and easily the weight of an elephant, these mega-creatures hold the record for the strongest bite of any animal – and they could fit a human in their mouths with just one bite.
Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble might not be hanging out again soon, but some of their friends might be. Scientists finished sequencing the Neanderthal genome in 2009. They found that today’s non-African humans generally have 1-4% Neanderthal! Looks like we’re really not that different after all.
This mushroom-shaped animal was last found off Tasmania’s coast in 1986, but scientists still aren’t sure where to place it in the animal kingdom. It’s possible they’re the surviving relative of a long-extinct species or an entirely new group.
A fearsome capybara-looking animal, this “bear dog” could stand on its hind legs just like today’s bears. It might have looked cuddly, but its teeth were razor sharp. No petting this bear dog.
Today’s sharks again pale in comparison to the Helicoprion, an ancient shark whose bottom jaw looked like a circular saw of flesh-ripping teeth. This one we can probably leave extinct.
Ever see a Eurasian cave painting resembling a bull? It was likely an Auroch, the mega-sized, now-extinct relative of cattle. Hitler was such a fan of reviving the massive beasts he had two zoologists breed similar living relatives to try getting the Auroch’s characteristics back. Seems he wasn’t just interested in only a master human race.
A relative of our modern-day armadillos, the Glyptodon was an armored, four-legged beast about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Thankfully, it wasn’t a carnivore.
Well, technically the saber-toothed cat or Smilodon, but we wouldn’t be smiling if we came face-to-face with this monster. With teeth up to a foot long (30cm), Smilodon Populator (which translates to Smilodon the Devastator and sounds like a Russian tsar), this cat dominated the Western Hemisphere with ease. Nowadays, we need to focus on preserving our other dwindling big cats like the tiger and lion.
Pitbulls and Rottweilers are tame in comparison to this ancestor of the wild boar. Roaming in North America, the Daeodon had a skull up to 3 feet (1m) in length. It was the largest of the Entelodonts (boar-like omnivores), sometimes called hell pigs or terminator pigs.
Scientifically known as Megalocerus giganteus, the Irish elk is one of the largest deer to have walked this Earth. With antlers up to 12 feet (3.65m), double its standard body length, this mega-creature’s remnants are largely found in Irish bogs but also found in Asia and Africa.
Gastric Brooding Frog
Discovered in the 70’s and declared extinct in the 80’s, the gastric brooding frog swallowed her eggs once they’re fertilized by a male and kept them in her stomach for up to 6 weeks. While the tadpoles grew, she did not eat and when ready, she regurgitated (yes, threw up) the completely developed babies.
If you get freaked out by a huge bee, you’d be scared to death by Meganuera, the ancient world’s colossal dragonfly. With a wingspan up to 2.5 feet (75cm), this mondo-bug chowed down on other bugs and even frogs and other small amphibians.
Alligators are big and mean. Scorpions are little and mean. Put them together and you have the ancient Eurypterid, an alligator-sized, ocean-dwelling scorpion which would be scary to swim across while scuba diving.
Looking more like something out of a low-budget sci-fi film than a real creature, Opabinia was a five-eyed, seafloor dweller. Though only a few inches long, it used a vacuum hose-like attachment in front of its mouth to bring food to its backward facing mouth.
When we say a big bird here, we mean BIG. With a wingspan larger than its name, Pelagornithidae stretched from 15-20 feet (5-6m). That’s almost three Shaquille O’Neal’s laid end-to-end!
As high as a giraffe and with a wingspan more than double of the Pelagornithidae, Quetzalcoatlus was a lizard and that means these creatures might have been what our ancestors called dragons! It’s definitely worth a shot to bring them back.