13 Strange Animal Discoveries Unearthed Topic 14
#13 … Giant Ant Fossil — Sounds like an oxymoron, but the fossil of a gigantic ant was discovered in Wyoming’s Green River Formation, a well-known fossil site. Monstrously big, these ants measured nearly 2 inches long, about the size of a hummingbird, as you can see in the picture! Living nearly 50 million years ago, this was a winged queen ant. Only a species of large queen ants in tropical Africa would rival their size today. An ant this big could step on YOU!
#12 … Monster Scorpion — Fossils of a sea scorpion measuring 5-feet long were discovered in Iowa in 2015. And some of its larger body segments suggest it could been even longer by half a foot. The species dates back over 460 million years, making it the oldest and largest of its species ever unearthed. These creatures were predators that terrorized the oceans and had paddle-shaped legs it used for swimming and digging. More than 150 fossilized fragments were recovered, nearly all perfectly preserved.
#11 … In 2011, a nest of 15 baby dinosaurs was discovered in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. To date, this is first definitive nest found of Protoceratops (proto-chair-ah-tops) … which was an herbivore about the size of a sheep and was known for its distinctive frill at the back of its head. The infant dinosaurs were 4 to 6 inches long and no more than a year old. The find is unusual because the large number of fossils discovered suggests that Protoceratops may have cared for their young at nests … during the early stages of childhood at least. Paleontologists think the nest may have been overcome by a migrating dune during a sandstorm.
#10 — Hellboy Fossil — A new dinosaur species bearing a resemblance to the comic book character Hellboy was found along a river bank in Canada, where it had lain for almost 70 million years. It had an elaborate set of horns on its face that were likely used for mating rituals rather than defense. And spines radiated from the edges of the bony frill at the rear of its skull. The animal was related to Triceratops and was built like the modern-day rhino … about 5 feet tall, 16 feet long, and weighing 1-and-a-half tons. No word on whether this Hellboy might want to star in its own comic book and movie.
#9 … World’s First Zoo? — Excavations at the ancient Egyptian capital of Hierakonpolis have revealed what may have been the world’s first zoo. The remains of over 100 animals including 2 elephants, 11 baboons, 3 hippos and 6 wildcats have been unearthed. The evidence suggests that a large menagerie may have existed there around 3500 BC. Researchers believe such a menagerie would have served as a display of the ruler’s power, and the animals were likely sacrificed upon the ruler’s death.
#8 … Fossilised Rhino Skull — This very rare prehistoric rhino fossil was found in Turkey buried in volcanic rock. Only 2-percent of fossils are found this way, because volcanic rock generates enough heat to incinerate organic matter … This 9 million year old fossil definitely beat the odds. Not only was this rhino tough, it must have been nearly fire-proof, too.
#7 … Mummified Animals — Ancient Egypt is famous for human mummies. But did you know that animals were also mummified for various reasons? Researchers believe the mummies of over 70 million animals were produced between 800 BC and 400 AD, ranging from birds to crocodiles. Some of the animals were intended for food offerings to humans in the afterlife. Others were used as sacrificial offerings to the gods, and Ancient Egyptian deities often took the form of animals … including cats, falcons, cows and baboons among many others.
#6 … Spider Sense — Here’s a picture from 100 million years ago, showing a spider in the process of attacking a wasp that’s actually caught in its web … 15 strands of spider silk are also preserved in amber. This is the only fossil discovered that depicts such a spider attack. The wasp never had a chance to deliver its sting … but it did have a long time to think about its mistake!
#5 … Mix And Match — In 2015, the excavation of an Iron Age Celtic settlement in Dorset, England revealed burial sites with strange hybrid-animals. Archaeologists said bones of different animals were intentionally placed together, and were reminiscent of mythical beasts found in ancient cultures. Some of the hybridized animals found at the site include a cow that had its legs replaced with horse’s legs … A sheep with its own head and the head of a bull placed on its rear end (pic) … And a horse with cow’s horns placed facing inward on its head. It’s thought ancient peoples would combine certain animal and/or human remains into one fantastic beast. Some of these hybridized beasts were regarded as monsters, while others played roles as counselors or guardianns.
#4 … Microraptor — This amazing fossil discovered in China revealed a feathered dinosaur that had four wings … two wings on its front limbs and two on its rear. It’s unsure if this dinosaur could actually fly by flapping its wings, or if it would glide from tree to tree. This may well have been the world’s smallest dinosaur, weighing between 2 to 3 pounds, and lived about 130 million years ago. Microraptor is in the same family as the better-known Velociraptor, although they appeared much later. There were other birdlike dinosaurs such as Archaeopteryx (ar-kop-terr-icks), but they had only a single set of wings on their front limbs.
#3 … Mysterious Claw — A huge, well-preserved claw was found in the cave system of Mount Owen in New Zealand in 1986. The claw was intact with flesh and scaly skin, and was so well preserved that it seemed to belong to a creature that had only died recently.. After inspection, it was determined the mummified claw was over 3000 years old and belonged to a large prehistoric bird called an Upland Moa (moe-uh). It stood around 4 feet high and had feathers covering its whole body except the beak and soles of its feet. It’s believed the species died out centuries earlier.
#2 … A Horse Is A Horse — In 2013, archaeologists discovered the remains of a Thracian carriage and two horses that were buried upright. The horse skeletons and chariot, along with some decorations, were found in a Thracian tomb uncovered in north-east Bulgaria and are estimated to be 2,500 years old. The discovery is thought to have belonged to the Thracian nobility due to nearby graves containing imported goods. The horses were still attached to their elaborate harnesses and carriage when discovered. And it’s thought that the horses were killed after leading the carriage into its final resting place. Experts say the find is unlike any other found from the Thracian era in Bulgaria. So you know, the Thracians were nomads who settled in the central Balkans some 5,000 years ago, and were known to be fierce warriors. In fact one Thracian made quite a name for himself back in the day … a fella by the name of Spartacus!
#1 … Yuka (yoo-kuh) — It’s the name of the best-preserved wooly mammoth ever discovered, off the north coast of Siberia in 2010. Complete with muscle tissue, fur, a blood sample and a brain still intact, the mammoth is estimated to be 39,000 years old. Thank the icy environment of the Russian Arctic Circle for the animal’s excellent preservation. It’s thought that the discovery will help advance efforts to clone ancient animals. Will we see the Wooly Mammoth walk the earth once more? Sounds like it could make a great movie.