10. Which, as it turns out, is the sort of inspiration nature needs to come up with some better predators*. They also got surprisingly large. During the late Cretaceous (80 million years ago), North America was split by a shallow sea, the Western Interior Seaway. The biggest ones are 12 inches long and look like artillery shells. The only fossils that have been found of this animal contain sets of spiraled teeth, and scientists are still trying to figure out just how they would have possibly fit into the shark’s mouth. Despite their ferocious armament, lobsters are relatively placid creatures. Flower Urchin. Current estimates put Cameroceras’s shell at upwards of six meters long. It is also believed that the extinction of these giant sharks is what allowed whales to reach the enormous sizes that they are known for today. This article was originally published on SB Nation a while ago, but was always intended for a Secret Base-y audience. Salties are strong, fast and surprisingly smart. Yeah, like that. It wouldn’t be quite big enough to swallow the Millennium Falcon, buuuuuuuuut ... Megalodon needs no introduction. Measuring at more than 50 feet long, the megalodon was the largest known shark of all time. Some are venomous. So let’s get creative. Imagine that thing trying to swim. Let’s make them big and sensitive and set for stereoscopic vision, which allows those pincers to be used more effectively to grab prey. Megalodon . Giant fish, sharks, and reptiles dominated the oceans for millions of years, becoming the apex predators of one of the craziest and most diverse environments on our planet. It’s not the largest ichthyosaur ever to grace the seas, but it’s up there, and it’s a far more developed predator than its giant forebears. *I’m being overly teleological here. Disclaimer: an old friend of mine is a paleontologist who specializes in the Burgess Shale fossils. Its legs were replaced with bladed paddles for maneuverability and it had a powerful tail for direct propulsion. The Liopleurodon was a giant marine reptile and one of the fiercest predators of the Jurassic period. This article was originally published on SB Nation a while ago, but was always intended for a Secret Base-y audience. For whatever reason, the fauna of Cretaceous period got big. The great white shark has a profound hold on popular culture, but its long-gone big sister isn’t far behind. Back in the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic, cephalopods were armored critters, much like our modern nautilus. Known to be 20 feet long, it didn’t really have teeth so much as a huge bony beak, which honestly makes the whole contraption even more frightening, like some sort of mobile oceanic guillotine. Let’s take a lobster. Megalodon made even the most vicious shark in today’s seas look like a toy. It’s quite hard to imagine it chasing anything around, so it presumably surprised trilobites etc. Let’s make the required tweaks. While not quite as dangerous as Ancient Dragons, these monsters tote a staggering 341 HP and have an armor class of 20, making them quite the hassle to put down. With good eyes set on flexible stalks and a surprising turn of speed, Anomalocaris canadensis cruised the Pre-Cambrian seas in death-shrimp mode. These didn’t eat squid. Plus, science-minded entertainment sources like the Discovery Channel love creatures that could pass for a movie monster. Its flippers were nearly 7 feet (2m) long, allowing it to swim the depths with deadly efficiency. On land, we had Tyrannosaurus Rex. This ancient fish lived 400 million years ago, but its bite has stood the test of time. Leviathan. Ammonites weren’t the only armored cephalopod prowling the ancient seas, however. Giant fish, sharks, and reptiles dominated the oceans for millions of years, becoming the apex predators of one of the craziest and most diverse environments on our planet. Their 30ft long harmful tentacles … But nevertheless, the box jellyfish, also known as the sea wasp, is more responsible for human deaths on the continent of Australia than snakes, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles put together.Source: National Geographic In the aftermath of the Permian extinction, which killed off a frankly horrifying number of creatures, a group of terrestrial reptiles took to the depleted seas. Decently boat-sized. So let’s go to the deep, deep past, revealed wonderfully by the Burgess Shale. Fast-forward a little bit and you have primitive ichthyosaurs, creatures so well adapted to oceanic life that they ended up looking like a cross between a crocodile and an extremely ill-tempered, extremely large dolphin. This monster considered 13-foot oceanic reptiles a delicious snack. While this all may sound intimidating, chances are Liopleurodon was not even the largest animal in its class; that title most likely goes to Kronosaurus. Since eurypterids (to give them their proper name) went extinct hundreds of millions of years ago, we don’t have very good comparisons for what these things were like.
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