The most bizarre pre-historic animals to ever roam the Earth hold myriad mysteries for science and history lovers to discover. There are all types of bizarre, fascinating creatures that will shock, terrify, and even make you laugh a bit at their appearance.
Bizarre Pre-Historic Animal: The Helicoprion
The Huffington Post wrote a report on the bizarre pre-historic Helicoprion and it provides some telling details. Upon first glance, the Helicoprion shark looks like it broke the mold in evolution, but new information via Idaho State University suggest that the evolutionary appearance of this nearly 30-foot long prehistoric shark has changed over several million years.
“It’s more like a circular saw,” Dr. Leif Tapanila told HuffPost. “The teeth don’t actually spin around the spiral like chainsaw. The exposed teeth form a curved row, so when the jaw closes, the teeth rotate back and slice through the prey.”
Various evolutionary versions of this bizarre looking shark place this circular saw weapon at different places on the body from the tail to the dorsal fin. Now just before Helicoprion went extinct, the shark used the circular saw within its mouth to slice and dice its prey.
Bizarre Pre-Historic Animal: Anomolacaris
The name means “strange shrimp.” Strange giant shrimp to be exact. Yes, shrimp weren’t always the bite-size crustaceans we know them to be today. The folks at NewScientist have done some extensive research on the sea creature.
Five-Hundred million years ago, this top sea predator was seven-feet long and known to have the sharpest vision in the Cambrian sea. Scientists in Australia have discovered that each eye on the shrimp had an astonishing 16,000 lenses. This means they could see far to the upper, well-lit levels of the ocean.
It fed on softshell animals as its mouth was too weak to break through hardshell sea creatures. The Anomolacaris was also a soft-shell animal as it had a soft exoskeleton similar to that of prawn, making it one of the most bizarre animals from pre-historic times. This animal lived quite a long time despite its limitations, having lived for 100 million years.
Elephant + Platypus = Platybelodon. This bizarre pre-historic animal is not very attractive. This Elephant hybrid had two pairs of tusk. Initially, water animals similar to the Hippopotamus used their tusks to shovel food into their mouths and to dig up swamps for food. Having traveled to dryer pastures, the tusks were used for cutting vegetation for food.
“The trunk is a very separate entity from the mouth. You have to be able to get food into your mouth, and if your front limbs are occupied in posture, and you have upper and lower tusks that would make it difficult to have a long projecting tongue or mobile lips, then you need a proboscis.”
The Daily Mail reports the Platybeldon lived between 20 million and 8 million BCE in Africa and Asia. These mammals were slightly smaller than their evolutionary counterparts but still had almost no predators. Unfortunately, they became extint in the Minocene Epoch.
Bizarre Pre-Historic Animal: Hallucigenia
What on Earth is the Hallucigenia? It looks like something out of a Salvatore Dali painting. But don’t worry, The Independent reports that scientists are finding out more about this strange creature every day. It was thought that Hallucigenia had no decendents but they are a part of a group of worm/slug-like creatures with short, stubby legs that swam, and floated around the Cambrian period.
“Martin Smith and Javier Ortega-Hernandez of Cambridge University have detected key physical similarities between Hallucigenia and the so-called velvet worms, known more formally as the onychophorans – the first time zoologists have been able to rule conclusively on the creature’s true role in history.”
Their body was covered in spikes, which were used as a bizarre, pre-historic, evolutionary defense mechanism, specifically against predators of that time period. One of the other unique qualities of the Hallucigenia is their claws. Claws are present on each end of their legs, which has several layers of cuticle which could be unraveled like an onion.
Hallucigenia lived around 540 million years ago, but it is unclear as of now when they went extinct.
As scientists discover more about the pre-historic world, all sorts of weird and unbelievable animal fossils will be found and examined. As we learn more about the bizarre animals of pre-historic world, we learn about ourselves, and our evolution.
[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]