The 20 largest animals in Earth's history

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Basil Manning

Did you know that the largest animal in history came to measure 58 meters long and weigh up to 122,400 kilos? That far exceeds the largest animal that still exists; the blue whale.

In this list we make a ranking that includes both terrestrial and marine animals, some of which are well known such as the Megalodon or the Tyrannosaurus rex, for fame bestowed by fictional movies like Jurasic Park.

Dinosaurs have been one of the largest land animals in history. Source: Pixabay.com

However, there are other more unknown that inhabited the Earth and were great predators due to their enormous size. We are talking about snakes of a ton or flying beings of more than 12 meters.

Ranking of the largest land animals in history

twenty- Ankylosaurus magniventris

The Ankylosaurus magniventris It is the largest dinosaur in the Ankylosauridae family. It was a species that stood out for its rocky armor and its tail, which had a huge mallet. Lived at the end of the Cretaceous period, that is, 68 million years ago. 

Although it is necessary to discover complete skeletons, it is considered the most representative armored dinosaur among the thyrophoric dinosaurs. According to experts, it was 9 m long and 1.7 m high. In addition, it weighed approximately 6.6 tons..

There is a close relative named Stegosaurus which had the same dimensions, but weighed slightly less, 5.5 tons.

19- Ptychodus

The Ptychodus was a genus of shark that lived from the Cretaceous to the Paleogene. It was the largest within the family hybodonts (Hybodontiformes), a group of animals that is distinguished by the conical and compressed shape of their teeth. 

Due to their body shape, experts think they were slow swimmers, but used their fins to change direction and stabilize. Curiously, they could live in fresh and salt water environments, inhabiting Europe and North America. According to experts it was 9.8 m long.

18- Fasolasuchus

The Fasolasuchus It was an animal that lived during the Upper Triassic. That is, 235 to 200 million years ago. It is considered the largest specimen within the rauisuquio family, a type of reptile that was characterized by having an upright posture.

This erect posture makes experts think that they were agile and active predators. This means that it was the largest terrestrial hunter ever discovered and that it does not belong to the dinosaur family. According to experts, they estimate that its average length was 8 to 10 m.

17- Sarcosuchus

The Sarcosuchus imperator, Commonly called Emperor SuperCroc, it is a type of crocodile that lived during the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic Era. That is, approximately 110 million years ago. It inhabited South America, but has also been found in the Sahara desert, in Africa.

The first fossil finds occurred between 1946 to 1959. Later, between 1997 and 2000, remains of their skulls were found. This helped experts estimate that its average length was 12 m and that it weighed 8.8 tons..

16- Helicoprion

Helicoprion was a cartilaginous fish very similar to the shark, since it had spiral teeth, a characteristic for which it is also known as a “spiral saw” fish. That is, their old and small teeth were shifted to the center, while the new and large ones were at the ends. 

It emerged for the first time in the oceans of Pennsylvania, 280 million years ago, surviving until the Upper Triassic (225 million years). Experts suggest that its size exceeded 12 m in length. The Parahelicoprion it is a familiar that had the same dimensions, but was thinner and less heavy.

15- Plesiosauroidea

Plesiosauroids are a family of marine reptiles that lived from the Lower Jurassic to the Upper Cretaceous. There are many who have called them as "snakes inside the shell of a turtle".

The longest known was called Styxosaurus and it measured more than 12 m. However the Hatzegopteryx, Albertonectes Y Thalassomedon, rivaled in size.

However, the largest pterosaur was the Quetzalcoatlus. He weighed about 127 kg and was almost 12 m tall. These estimates were made based on his skull, which was 3 m long..

14- Deinosuchus

The Deinosuchus it was a type of reptile of the crocodilia family. It is among the largest crocodiles of all time, estimated to be between 8 and 15 meters long and its maximum weight was 9 tons.

It lived in the United States and northern Mexico, approximately 80-75 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era. 

A close relative is the Purussaurus, with dimensions of 11 and 13 m in length. Another similar large crocodile is Rhamphosuchus, which was estimated to measure between 8 and 11 m in length.

13- Titanoboa

The largest known prehistoric snake is the Titanoboa cerrejonensis. It is estimated that it was 12m8m long and weighed 1,135kg. Other findings suggest a somewhat larger size, up to 14.3 meters long. He lived in present-day Colombia, South America, during the Paleocene, 60 and 58 million years ago.

Another very large snake is the Gigantophis garstini, whose dimensions ranged from 9.3 to 10.7 m in length.

12- Theropods

Theropods are a type of dinosaurs that were characterized by having hollow bones and three functional fingers on their extremities. They first appeared 230 million years ago and disappeared about 66 million years ago.

They were generally predators, but there are several groups that became herbivores, omnivores, piscivores, and insectivores.. 

Two of the largest are the Giganotosaurus carolinii with about 13.2 m in length, and the famous Tyrannosaurus rex with a length of 12.3 m. Other notable but smaller giant theropods are the Carcharodontosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus Y Mapusaurus

11- Ornithopods

Ornithopods were a type of dinosaur that lived from the Lower Jurassic to the Upper Cretaceous. That is, approximately 197 and 66 million years ago. Inhabited all continents, including Antarctica. 

The greatest of all was the call Shantungosaurus. They were so heavy that they exceeded 25 tons and could be up to 16.5 m long. In fact, only his skull measured 1.63 m. It could advance on the hind legs or on all four, since they all ended in hooves.

10- Leedsichthys

Leedsichthys It is the largest ray-finned fish of all time. It belonged to the Pachycormidae family, a group of bony fish that lived in the oceans during the Middle Jurassic period. Its fossils have been discovered in places like England, France, Germany and Chile..

According to experts, its maximum length was approximately 16.5 m. Curiously, it has been mistaken for dinosaur remains due to its large size. However, it has been difficult to interpret its dimensions, since its body is made up mainly of cartilage, a tissue that rarely fossilizes. 

9- Livyatan melvillei

The largest prehistoric sperm whale was Livyatan melvillei, the only specimen that inhabited the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, in what is now known as Peru. It is believed to have been an aggressive predator.

The fossils that have been found of his skull have measured 3 meters long. In addition, several teeth were found, the largest 36 cm in length. This suggests that the total length of his body must have been 13.5 to 17.5 meters. It is also believed that they weighed 63 tons, approximately.

8- Pliosauroids

Pliosauroids were a type of reptile that lived from the Upper Triassic to the Upper Cretaceous. There is much controversy over which is the largest known. For example, one was found in Norway in 2008 and it was called the Predator X which, according to experts, was 15 m long and weighed 50 tons.. 

In 2002, one had been found in Mexico with the same dimensions, but these paleontologists claimed that it was a young specimen. Another very big one was Pliosaurus macromerus, whose average jaw is 2.8 m long, suggesting that it could reach a size of 18 m.

7- Mosasaurs

Mosasaurs were aquatic lizards that disappeared in the late Lower Cretaceous. Lived in Western Europe, North America, South America, and Antarctica. 

They are currently considered close relatives of snakes. They breathed air and were powerful swimmers. In fact, they were adapted to warm, shallow seas.

The largest specimen is called as Mosasaurus hoffmanni, that measured 17.6 m. There is also the Hainosaurus bernardi, which is believed to have measured between 17 and 12.2 m. In turn, the smallest was the Tylosaurus, estimating a length of 10-14 m.

6- Spinosaurus

The Spinosaurus It is the largest theropod dinosaur known to date. This makes it the largest land predator that ever existed. Some suggest it may have been semi-aquatic, somewhat akin to the modern crocodile..

It lived in North Africa during the Cretaceous, approximately 112 to 93.5 million years ago. Thanks to the fossils found, experts estimate that it must have measured between 12.6 and 18 m in length and had to weigh around 8 to 23 tons. However, the theory that it was robust is discarded.

5- Megalodon

The Megalodon was a shark that lived during the Cenozoic. That is, 19.8 and 2.6 million years ago, approximately. It is considered one of the largest and most powerful predators in the history of vertebrates. In fact, it was similar to today's white shark..

Their existence probably greatly influenced the way in which the marine communities of their time were structured. Based on the fossil record, experts suggest that it measured more than 16 m in length and weighed about 114 tons. That makes it the largest shark that ever lived.

4- Ichthyosaurs 

Ichthyosaurs were lizard fish that lived from the Lower Triassic to the Upper Cretaceous, that is, approximately 245-90 million years ago. Among the largest is the Shastasaurus sikanniensis, whose dimensions were 21 m in length. 

In April 2018, paleontologists announced the discovery of a new specimen within this species and suggest that it could have reached lengths of 26 to 30 m. This makes it rival the blue whale in size.. 

Another giant ichthyosaur was also found and that, according to experts, possibly surpasses the aforementioned cetacean. 

3- Sauropods

Sauropods are a species of quadruped dinosaurs that lived from the Upper Triassic to the Upper Cretaceous (between 210 and 66 million years ago). They were found on all continents and were herbivores.

Although the animals that continue in our count belong to this species, a mention should be made for the Argentinosaurus, Alamosaurus Y Gatesaurus: three species with similar characteristics that measured between 30 to 33 meters in length and weighed around 55 and 58 tons.

There is also the Patagotitan, which is estimated to be 37 m long and weighed 76 tons. Others are the Supersaurus, Sauroposeidon Y Diplodocus, which rivaled in length, but not in weight.

two- Barosaurus lentus

The Barosaurus lentus it is another species of sauropod. Lived in North America at the end of the Jurassic period, that is, 150 million years ago. 

It was originally thought to reach only 27m, however a massive backbone attributed to this species was recently found, suggesting that it had a maximum length of 50m. In turn, this made experts think that his body mass could exceed 110 tons. However, he was less robust than his other relatives..

1- Maraapunisaurus fragillimus

The Maraapunisaurus fragillimus, also know as mega-sauropod, was the largest known dinosaur in history. It stood out for having a very long neck and tail, having the latter form of a whip.

It has been estimated that it was 58 m long and weighed 122.4 tons. Unfortunately, the fossil remains of this dinosaur have been lost. Recently, it has been said that it could actually measure between 30.3 and 32 m in length, its size having been exaggerated.


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