The earth is around 4.5 billion years old. In this almost unbelievable period of time, the first life developed in the oceans – simple unicellular organisms. This resulted in more complex forms of life, which made their way ashore 480 million years ago and shaped life there. The first land creatures were simple arthropods that were to become true giants over millions of years. Again and again there were violent climatic changes that led to the extinction of numerous species, but new ones were also created. Look forward to our incredible facts about prehistoric times.
1. The Indricotherium was the largest land mammal of all times and had no enemies to fear. The species could grow to almost 30 feet (nine meters) and weighed up to 22 tons (20 metric tons). This made the giants almost ten feet taller than a giraffe and more than three times as heavy as an elephant.
2. The flightless terror birds were the direct descendants of the dinosaurs and ruled the earth 49 million years ago. This was the only time that birds ruled the world. The animals were up to ten feet tall and weighed up to 770 pounds (350 kilograms). Their giant razor-sharp beak secured them a place at the top of the food chain for a long time.
3. The brain growth of early humans only began due to the increased protein intake from an increasingly meat-oriented diet.
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4. Doedicurus, an early relative of the armadillo, was the size of a car, protected by a massive round shell, weighed 1.5 tons, and had a mighty morning star at the tail end in defense.
5. Megatherium was a giant sloth that was 20 feet (six meters) long, had huge claws to defend itself and weighed as much as an elephant. Thanks to small bone plates under its skin, it was armored as if by chain mail.
6. The fur of a mammoth could grow to a length of more than three feet (one meter) in winter.
7. Mammoths were sometimes in huge herds of more than 100 animals.
8. With an estimated length of 221 feet (37 meters), the Patagotitan mayorum was probably the longest dinosaur in the world. Weighing in at about 77 tons (70 metric tons), it was as heavy as a Boeing 747 and therefore probably the heaviest land creature of all time.
9. With a height of 59 feet (18 meters), the tallest animal to ever have lived on earth was probably the Sauroposeidon. One of its cervical vertebrae alone was already 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) long.
10. Dinosaurs lived on earth for 170 million years. In contrast, humans (Homo Sapiens) have only been around for 300,000 years.
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11. The largest shark that ever lived was the Megalodon. It could grow to a length of up to 65 feet (20 meters), almost three times the size of a white shark.
12. The largest insect of all time lived 300 million years ago. Meganeura resembled today’s dragonflies, but had an enormous wingspan of 30 inches (75 centimeters).
13. The Titanoboa was the largest snake to ever have lived. The 46-foot-long (14-meters-long) animal, which weighed more than 1.2 tons, haunted the Colombian rainforest some 60 million years ago.
14. 66 million years ago, an asteroid with a diameter of 6.2 to 9.3 miles (ten to 15 kilometers) hit the Yucatan peninsula – at the time still a shallow sea. The Chicxulub impact had a force of at least 200 million Hiroshima bombs and directly as well as indirectly caused the extinction of up to 75 percent of all plant and animal species living at that time.
15. 540 to 251 million years ago, millipedes of the Arthropleura species lived on Earth. They could reach a length of 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) and were the largest arthropods in the history of the earth.
16. The gigantism of the dinosaurs and many other prehistoric animal species can be traced back to epochs with a significantly increased oxygen concentration in the air. For example, the oxygen content in the Carboniferous was 35 percent instead of the current 21 percent.
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