Thursday, December 23, 2010

Megafauna Part I

When we are talking about largest living things ever step foot on Earth, we will think about dinosaurs. This is mostly correct but not totally true. Most of us don't even notice the exist of megafauna, or large animal. These large animals are not dinosaurs.  They are mammals, reptiles and even insects, their sizes can go to amazing big or long. Most of them are already extinct
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna (Ancient Greek megas "large" + New Latin fauna "animal") are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. Their original and most common definition is 100 lb, often rounded in the metric system to 40 or 45 kg.

Here I would like to introduce to you some of mega fauna that already extinct.
1. Jaekelopterus rhenaniae

November 2007, a fearsome fossil claw discovered in Germany belonged to the biggest bug ever known. Jaekelopterus rhenaniae measured some 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long, scientists estimate, based on the length of its 18-inch (46-centimeter), spiked claw. The newfound fossil creature is estimated to be at least one and a half feet (46 centimeters) longer than any previously known prehistoric sea scorpion, a group called eurypterids. Jaekelopterus lived approximately 390 million years ago. Although called a "sea scorpion", it is speculated to have lived in fresh water rivers and lakes, rather than in saltwater seas.

2. Palorchestes azael

Palorchestes was a ground dwelling marsupial that lived in a woodland habitat. It possessed powerful forelimbs and razor sharp claws, and was capable of ripping through tough vegetation such as bark on tree trunks in order to obtain food. The strong, high-crowned teeth provide further evidence that its diet consisted largely of abrasive vegetation.

3. Rat as big as a Bull

A 4-million-year-old rat skull found at a coastal site in Uruguay set a new world record in the giant rodent category. The 21-inch-long skull is likely to have belonged to a creature as large as a bull and as heavy as a small car, according to researchers’ estimates. The previous record holder was a 1,500-pound, 8-million-year-old guinea pig discovered in Venezuela a few years ago.

4. Indricotherium - largest mammal ever live

Indricotherium is an extinct early relative of modern rhinos that lived during the late Oligocene and early Miocene Epochs of the Cenozoic Era. It was also the largest land mammal ever to live on land, at about 25 feet long, 17 feet tall, and weighing nearly 18 tons. In terms of weight, it was four times larger than a modern day bull elephant and rivaled the size of large sauropod dinosaurs that lived during the Mesozoic. Fossils of indricotherium have been unearthed in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan.

5. Haast’s Eagle - Man-eating Eagle

In New Zealand, both the fossil record and Maori legend tell us of a giant raptor known as Haast’s Eagle (Harpagomis moorei) that was once the largest predator in New Zealand. The giant Haast’s Eagle, it is believed, attacked and killed the 300-pound moa, a flightless bird reminiscent of an ostrich or emu though much larger, as one of its main food sources. Both the Haast’s eagle and the moa are now extinct. The oral legends of the Maori people, however, recall the Haast’s eagle, called pouakia or kokioi in their language, as a flying beast of fearful hunting prowess, and, if they are to be believed, the giant Haast’s eagle may have been hunting and killing human beings around the same time as Columbus was discovering America.

End of part I, hope you enjoy. Read Part II now....


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