Most terrifying long-extinct animals



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Dylan Barbeau, Features Writer

Fear is a necessary trait that allows us to survive as a species. We fear animals that hunt us for food, such as tigers or bears, or ones that are overtly aggressive, such as hippos. However, in a hypothetical situation where every animal that has ever existed is alive, here are the ones that would be feared the most.


Giant Ground Sloths

The first animal is different from the rest because it coexisted with humans. Related to the slow-moving arboreal sloths in South America, these sloths were the size of elephants and used their claws, each of which was around the size of a human hand, to help feed on vegetation. However, those claws were also likely used for defense against predators. If these sloths had the temperament of animals like African cape buffaloes or hippos, then they are overtly aggressive to anything they believe poses a threat.



The oceans were and still are filled with many things that could make one rather explore outer space than the deep, but xiphactinus takes the cake. Also dubbed the bulldog fish by some, it was one of the largest bony fish to ever live. When it hunted, it would open its mouth and swallow entire fish that can get up to six feet in length. If these were still alive, sharks would probably be considered saints compared to them.



While many think that they were essentially just big cows, sauropods, such as brachiosaurus and diplodocus, would be a nightmare to be around. While they may have been the largest animals to ever walk the Earth, they still would’ve likely been aggressive to protect their young from predators. Meaning if one were to enrage a sauropod, there would be little chance that they would survive.


Terror Birds

Cassowaries and ostriches are already seen as the most dangerous birds alive, but terror birds, like gastornis, are similar to those, but carnivorous. They typically lived in South America and preyed on smaller mammals. They likely hunted by bludgeoning their prey with their beaks and finishing it off with a kick to the head.


Quetzalcoatlus and other azdarchids

The scariest predators from the Mesozoic period are actually a pterosaur group known as the Azhdarchids. They are notable for being primarily ground hunters and the way they hunted was very similar to modern-day storks. The most frightening species was the Quetzalcoatlus because it was as tall as a giraffe, making it the largest animal to ever fly. Studies also showed that quetzalcoatlus could also run similarly to giraffes. Just imagine the image of a giraffe-sized stork either running you down or snatching you from above and swallowing you whole.


As with modern-day animals, these were just normal animals trying to survive on a day-to-day basis. They were still wild animals and deserved to have appropriate space, also like modern-day animals.