Extraordinary Prehistoric Animals You Can Still See Today

Extraordinary Prehistoric Animals You Can Still See Today

Have you ever wondered what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Well, it turns out, there are remnants of that life everywhere today. The Mesozoic era brought forth more than 180 million years of dinosaurs until their extinction 65 million years ago. About 50 percent of the planet’s animal and plant life survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. Here are some of the animals whose ancestors walked (or swam) alongside dinosaurs, and who still exist today. Though breathtaking creatures like mastodons, giant sloths, saber-toothed tigers and ancient dire wolves have been extinct for about 11,700 years, that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to see some awe-inspiring prehistoric creatures today. The history of our planet is like a carnival of screams. Looking back through the fossil record, we’ve had everything from carnivorous swimming tanks to giant flesh eating goats. Fortunately, nature has seen fit to kill most of history’s monsters with evolution and extinction events. So we’re in the clear, right? Sure, if you stay on land.

Gharial

Sadly, this species falls into the category of prehistoric animals which are critically endangered. The gharial, otherwise known as the gavial, boasts a terrifying mouthful of razor-sharp teeth.  It has been reported that fewer than 200 gharials are left in the wilds of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Gharial

Komodo Dragon

These gigantic and often dangerous lizards can weigh as much as the average man. The venomous reptilian species can be found in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park. The small islands that make up this park are stunning and offer a wealth of magnificent flora and fauna which continue to dazzle many curious tourists.

Komodo Dragon

Shoebill Stork

With its large, sharpened beak, fierce gaze and impressive wingspan, the shoebill stork is one of the oldest birds to still walk the planet. Due to habitat destruction and poaching, the species has been noted as vulnerable to extinction. You can still catch a glimpse of these majestic birds in protected areas of Uganda.

Shoebill Stork

Bactrian Camel

You might already be familiar with the one-humped camels that are still used as a mode of transport in the Middle East, but did you know that they evolved from the two-humped bactrian camel? These camels still roam the plains of the Mongolian Gobi Desert. Bactrian camels have been around for the last two million years. With their fat- and water-storing humps, these animals are able to withstand long, dry, food-free periods. There are said to be only 1,000 of these creatures left in existence.

Bactrian Camel

Echidna

Echidnas look like a cute cross between a porcupine and an anteater. The species are one of the few monotremes, meaning they are categorized as mammals but still produce eggs instead of giving birth to live young, just like their equally adorable relative, the platypus. These nocturnal animals are notoriously difficult to find in the wild. The highly endangered species have been roaming the earth for an estimated 17 million years. They can be found in captivity in multiple zoos across New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.

Echidna

Musk Oxen

Musk oxen have been walking the snowy Alaskan slopes for an estimated 187,000 years. Though their populations have been slowly declining in recent years, there are still several thousand musk oxen in Alaska. The species are most commonly spotted in Nome, Alaska, where they have been noted to wander near the neighboring tundra town. The oxen’s wool is some of the warmest and finest in the world and is said to be even rarer and considered more valuable than cashmere.

Musk Oxen