When we think of prehistoric animals, our first thought is usually dinosaurs, but there are so many other fantastic and fascinating prehistoric animals for you to introduce your children to. Prehistoric animals are a great gateway into looking at some of the animals we share the planet with today because they are their ancestors.
What we know as the prehistoric era covers hundreds of millions of years and long before there were any humanlike creatures on Earth. This means that most prehistoric animals have never been seen by humans. Most of what we know has been deduced by fossils.
Teaching kids about prehistoric creatures is a fascinating and engaging way to introduce them to ideas about biology, evolution, and even the history of the planet.
Let’s have a look at what are they.
It is any species of the extinct elephantid genus Mammuthus.
The various species of mammoth were commonly equipped with long, curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair. They lived from the Pliocene epoch (from around 5 million years ago) into the Holocene at about 4,000 years ago, and various species existed in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. Mammoths are more closely related to living Asian elephants than African Elephants.
Along with the woolly mammoth, the saber-toothed tiger was one of the most famous megafaunas of the Pleistocene epoch.
No one would be much interested in the saber-toothed tiger if it were just an unusually big cat. What makes this megafauna mammal truly worthy of attention is its huge, curving canines, which measured close to 12 inches in the largest smilodon species. Oddly enough, though, these monstrous teeth were surprisingly brittle and easily broken, and were often sheared off entirely during close combat, never to grow back again. (It’s not like there were any dentists on hand in Pleistocene North America!)
Either of two extinct species of rhinoceros found in fossil deposits of the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs (5.3 million to 11,700 years ago) in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The animal was massive, with two large horns toward the front of the skull, and was covered with a thick coat of hair.
It is an extinct flightless bird that was endemic to the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The dodo’s closest genetic relative was the also extinct Rodrigues solitaire, the two forming the subfamily Raphinae of the family of pigeons and doves. The closest living relative of the dodo is the Nicobar pigeon. A white dodo was once thought to have existed on the nearby island of Réunion, but this is now believed to have been confusion based on the also-extinct Réunion ibis and paintings of white dodos.
Known as one of the largest marsupials ever, Diprotodon lived between 1.6 million and 46,000 years ago – during the Pleistocene Period. It was first discovered during the 1830s by Major Thomas Mitchell. He discovered the fossils of this marsupial in a cave in New South Wales in Australia. After discovering them, he then sent them to Sir Richard Owen, who described and named them in 1838. Its name means “two forward teeth.”
Also known as megacorps, is a stocky, quadrupedal herbivore with a Y-shaped horn protruding from its snout. An average brontotherium stands eight feet tall and 16 feet long, weighing around 7,000 pounds.
Possessed one of the most complex and spectacular horns among deer, reaching in the span of 3.7 meters. It is noteworthy that each year these horns were dumped. The genus of the giant deer retained many primitive traits inherited from the ancestors.
The appearance of the first megacerine was observed about 1.4 million years ago, and already in the Early Pleistocene their bone remains were found on the British Isles and in Germany, and in Eastern Europe – on the territory of Moldova and Ukraine. Finally, the giant deer became extinct about 11.000 years ago, much later than other representatives of the mammoth fauna.
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