I suppose technically this title is a contradiction, as no animal that is extinct can be dangerous as they are well…. Extinct!
Still if you were ever to travel backwards in time then these would be the most dangerous animals you might be unlucky enough to encounter
Creatures of the past naturally have a certain appeal that modern animals lack simply because they are no longer here. Even small unspectacular birds like the Dodo seem more interesting simply because they are extinct. Would anyone care about an overgrown pigeon on the island of Mauritus had it not been for its tragic fate?
In a way I suppose its like celebrities. There is always a certain morbid fascination with something, be it a rock star, or an animal, once its gone.
Still many of these creatures were truly spectacular animals and far more deadly than famous modern predators, and in this article I am going to run down what I feel would have been the most dangerous extinct animals.
This is not going to be in any order as it all depends on where you are as to which would be more deadly.
A prehistoric Shark that was possibly 60 feet long (over twice the size of a modern Orca) and close to 65 short tons in weight.
Megalodon had a bite force of over 20 tons. In comparison the modern day Great white shark has a bite of 1 ton. Considering that a modern day Great White has jaws powerful enough to bite through the bones of whales, then one can only imagine how deadly this predators bite would have been. Megalodon’s bite may very well have been the strongest of any animal ever to have lived on the planet. The only competitor is Tyrannosaurus Rex which according one estimate had a slightly bigger bite than Megalodon.
For over 13 million years Megalodon was the apex predator in its environment and evidence shows that it would have preyed mostly on large whales. Among ts favoured prey would have included the ancestors of the modern day Sperm Whale, a super predator itself.
It just goes to show you there really IS always a bigger fish or mammal out there. The Giant Squid is a dangerous carnivore that can reach a length of 33 feet long and if you encountered it in the ocean you’d be pretty scared.
However this thing is the prey of the Sperm Whale an even bigger carnivore.
2 million years ago however the ancestors of the Sperm Whale would have been the Megalodon’s bitch.
Whilst Megalodon was possibly the most powerful carnivore to live on the planet. It was ultimately driven to extinction just before modern man appeared. It’s death is believed to have been caused by a variety of different causes, including the cooling of the oceans, a decline in its prey population and possibly even competition from smaller predators such as the Great White Shark and raptorial whales who emerged near the end of the Megalodon’s reign. (These smaller predators couldn’t have competed with the adults, but would have been more efficient predators than the younger Megalodon, who would not have been looked after by their parents.)
Whilst the Megalodon is generally considered to have died out about 2 million years ago, some conspiracy theorists still believe that they exist hidden in the depths of the ocean. There have even been alleged sightings and even supposed video proof of living Megalodons from around the world. There has been no concrete proof of Megalodon’s survival however and experts agree that if it were still around we would see it more often due to its lifestyle. It is also believed that modern whales are only able to get so big in the first place, because there are no giant Sharks like Megalodon around to prey on them.
Still whilst Megalodon’s in the 21st century may be nothing more than science fiction. It’s safe to say that dealing with a Shark this size.
Would be a very scary prospect!
Jaws would have been over a lot faster if they were dealing with a Megalodon.
Possibly the most powerful and dangerous creature ever to take to the wing. The Haast’s Eagle came from New Zealand, which was cut off from the rest of the world to such an extent that there were no large mammals, which allowed birds to become the dominant life forms.
Some birds lost the ability to flight and grew to massive sizes becoming the famous Moa birds. Here is a reconstruction of a Moa beside a human being just to give you an idea of how big they could get.
The Haast Eagle meanwhile came to occupy the role of the top predator in the absence of any large mammalian carnivores. and grew to massive sizes in response to the Moa who were its main source of prey.
The Haast Eagle had a wingspan of almost ten feet and weighed up to 10 to 15 kilograms. Its talons were up to 4 inches long. That’s about the size of a Bengal Tigers claws.
The beast would strike at its prey with a speed of 60 miles per hour talons first. If its prey wasn’t killed in the impact then they would certainly be completely crippled and unable to fight back as the beast disembowled them and literally snapped their bones with its claws.
Whilst it is not known how strong the grip of a Haast Eagle’s talons were, it is known that a Bald Eagle which is less than half the size of a Haast Eagle’s grip is 350 psi (over three times that of the strongest human’s grip) and so therefore its reasonable to believe that the Haast Eagle may have had a grip of over 700 psi.
This whole animal weighs about 700 pounds. A Haast Eagle’s grip would be like if this bear sat on you!
The Haast Eagle is speculated to have preyed on the first human settlers that arrived in New Zealand, possibly targeting their children in particular. Either way it served as a symbol of both great fear and worship for early Maori tribes. Ultimately however it would be mankind that would drive this winged terror to extinction when they killed off its main food supply, the Moa.
Maori tribes may also have hunted the Haast Eagle itself in defence as with the lack of Moa birds (who it is believed were driven to extinction in under 100 years) the Eagle may have turned to hunting humans more often.
The Haast Eagle went extinct round about 1400, though as with the Moa there have been claims of the odd sighting since, but it is generally regarded as extinct by modern science.
Its lucky for us that other eagles never reached this beasts size and power. Eagles are very bold and dangerous predators and have been known to regularly attack and even kill creatures many times their own size including Goats, Deers, Antelopes, Wolves, Fox’s, Wild Cats and Dogs, Snakes, Jackals, Baboons, and Monkeys. Some Eagles have even been known to attack, kill and eat human children though these instances are very rare, they have still been reported. The Crowned Eagle is the most likely to attack human beings.
Scale this up and imagine what the likes of the Golden, Bald, Harpy and Crowned Eagles could do if they were the size of the Haast’s Eagle and as powerful. It would be a Hitchcock style nightmare!
Andrewsarchus is the largest land based Mammalian carnivore ever to live on the planet. Its estimated to have been about 6 feet tall at the shoulder and over 12 feet long. Its only known from one single skull specimen however and so therefore its true size can not be determined for sure, but it is still generally believed to have been the largest terrestrial Mammal carnivore of all time.
Whilst there is some debate over whether or not it was a predator or a scavenger, its power is still undisputed. The Andrewsarchus could bite with a force of over 2000 pounds which is comparable to 1 ton, over twice that of a modern day tiger.
Titanoboa was a prehistoric snake appearing shortly after the Dinosaurs died out. It grew to just over 50 feet long and weighed over 1 ton.
This monster would have preyed on giant fish and Crocodiles. It was mostly a marine animal as on land it would have been somewhat cumbersome, though it could have still pulled prey from the land into the ocean in much the same manner as a crocodile. The beast is believed to have killed its victims using constriction like modern day anaconda’s though some believe it may also have had a poison bite.
The largest land based predator ever to live on the planet, Spinosaurus was almost 60 feet long and could weigh up to 23 short tons.
(Edit update: It is now believed that Spinosaurus actually weighed a lot less than Tyrannosaurus, though it was still the longest land based predator.)
Spinosaurus’s claws were as big as those you would find in a slaughter house and it was believed that it could have swung its arms with a tremendous force. It also had a relatively powerful bite too of roughly 3 tons, stronger than any animal alive today. In fact it was one of the strongest bites of any animal with only Tyrannosaurus Rex, Giganotosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, Predator X, Deinosuchus a few species of whales and Megalodon having stronger bites.
Spinosaurus’s teeth were better suited for gripping however and it is speculated that it might have been a semi aquatic animal, meaning that most of its diet would may have been made up of marine life. Some of the beasts detractors have used this as proof that it was weaker than other giant meat eating dinosaurs, but it’s worth nothing that the fish it may have ate however, included prehistoric sharks bigger and stronger than the great white shark! Spinosaurus basically ate jaws for breakfast.
There is still proof that the Spinosaurus preyed on other dinosaurs and Pterosaurs however (some believe it may have even killed them by pulling them into the water like a crocodile.) It is also believed to have fought with another large carnivore Carcharodontosaurus which was actually bigger than Tyrannosaurus.
These large carnivores most likely would have given each other a wide berth as large carnivores generally tend not to bother each other, but there is some evidence of conflict with one Spinosaurus sail bearing the bite mark of a Carcharodontosaurus.
Other than Carcharodontosaurus, Spinosaurus would have had no real threats and would have been the apex predator of its environment. Whilst it may have been a more effective predator in the water where it would have been faster, one things for sure if it were alive today, Spinosaurus could make short work of any land animal with minimum effort.
The largest and deadliest marine reptile, Predator X could reach a length of 49 feet long and had the second, or third depending on what estimate you take for Tyrannosaurus Rex’s bite of all time.
Its bite was over 15 tons which would have been powerful enough to bite a car in half! The beast would have preyed on, well just about anything it wanted to. Sharks, Plesiosaurs, giant Squids, Pterosaurs the odd unlucky Dinosaur that strayed to close to the shore.
Its teeth were over twice the length of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s.
The terror birds is the name given to a large group of flightless meat eating birds some of which could stand over 9 feet tall. They included such killers as Phorusrachus and Titanis. These creatures were for many millions of years the apex predators in their environments and preyed on various mammalian species. They had formidable razor sharp beaks capable of ripping off massive pieces of flesh and long razor sharp talons on their feet which may have been used to disembowel their victims. It is also believed that some of the terror birds may have been able to run as fast as modern day Cheetahs.
These creatures were for all intents and purposes large meat eating Dinosaurs existing millions of years after the likes of Tyrannosaurus had died out and chowing down on the ancestors of many modern mammal species.
They are believed to have gone extinct just before the arrival of man.
The largest species of Gorilla ever to have existed. This beast could be up to 10 feet tall.
It was a real life big foot, and though herbivorous it would have possessed incredible strength.
When you consider that modern day gorilla’s are as strong as 20 men combined, and then scale up to Gigantopithicus, then it’s no wonder that this ape was able to live among some of the most dangerous carnivores of its age.
Now I am not going to talk too much about Tyrannosaurus here as I’ve already written about its power before. Still ultimately I can’t not include it as Tyrannosaurus Rex was unquestionably one of the most dangerous predators ever to live on the planet.
No longer regarded as the biggest meat eating dinosaur. T.rex is still considered to be the strongest in many ways.
(EDIT update, Tyrannosaurus is now once again regarded as the largest following recent finds which suggest that it was the heaviest meat eating Dinosaur, though Giganotosaurus and Spinosaurus were both longer.)
Tyrannosaurus had the longest and thickest teeth of any meat eating Dinosaur, was capable of ripping off over 500 pounds of flesh in one bite, and finally its bite force has been speculated to be anywhere between 4 and over 23 tons. If the largest estimate of 23 tons were correct then the Tyrannosaurus would have had the greatest bite force of all time, even greater bite than Megalodon. Its bite was also much greater in proportion to its body than Megalodon’s as well, and even if the lowest estimates for its bite were true, at 4 tons, it would still possess the strongest bite force of any land based animal.
Furthermore due to having such a strong bite, Tyrannosaurus’ skeleton would have been stronger than reinforced steel. In the 2005 documentary “The Truth About Killer Dinosaurs” the reconstructed Tyrannosaur head, nicknamed Steely Dan was made from reinforced steel, as it was felt that was the only substance strong enough to replicate the animals bone. That was when they believed that it only had a bite of 4 tons!
In addition to this, Tyrannosaurus is also believed to have been the most intelligent of the giant meat eating Dinosaurs, and possessed a far more advanced sense of sight, smell and hearing too.
It is a complete myth that Tyrannosaurus could have only seen its victims if they moved. If you were ever to encounter a Tyrannosaurus in the wild, staying still would be a very bad idea.