If anyone was a prehistory enthusiast in their younger(MUCH younger) years, and I know I was, then you know that dinosaurs were pretty much the most ballin’ thing ever.
Giant lizards with big, stompy feet, drooling fangs, huge talons, and dragging tails that terrorized a younger, more violent world than our own that we know today.
Thing is, though, like every epoch, the Age of Reptiles(and other scaly, warty, or otherwise “cold-blooded”[not] beasties) had its share of weirdos, whether they be from looks, behaviors, or they just don’t fit into any one family. Example, today’s monotremes, the echidna and the platypus.
However, the freaks of yesterday were far more numerous, and way, WAY weirder.
Starting off, Parasaurolophus. Also, all names will be italicized because they are technically scientific(Latin) names. THUSLY!
Parasaurolophus is tame in terms of weirdness. Fossilized remains reveal that its characteristic crest was hollow and convoluted, like a trombone.
When it was first discovered, scientists thought that it breathed through its crest while grazing for subaquatic forages, much like how it was thought that longnecks like Brachiosaurus were so immensely tall because they traipsed through deep water, their heads above the surface like real-life Nessies.
Further research and paleontological examination has revealed that Parasaurolophus may have used its strange crest for vocalization, which, amusingly enough, has been speculated to sound like a bugle.
Moving on, let’s talk about the tyrant lizard king for a moment. First and foremost, he was NOT the biggest of all theropods. That trophy goes to Spinosaurus, who stretched almost SIXTY FEET from snout to stern and weighed up to a hefty seven tons.
It also classifies as a ‘weirdo’, because I mean look at this fuggin thing.
Anyhoo, I’m wasting your time. “Where are the non-dinosaur freaks you promised, Nauga?!” You scream in your head.
Well, I’mma start on that right now. You see, Mother Nature seemed to be in her rebellious sixties stage right around the Precambrian Era, the Age of Reptiles and even into the early Mesozoic, and experimented. A LOT.
I think she was hitting the bong quite a bit, because we got things like:
Kaprosuchus, which in itself was more cool and FRIGHTENING than straight-up weird. Crocodiles on stilts? Thank heavens this f*cker went extinct. I’m all for its design, Mother Nature, it’s awesome, but this thing could probably sprint MUCH faster than your average croc, which is still faster than most humans at a dead run.
Microraptor, which as the name suggests, is…well, a tiny raptor. Four wings? I think Momma wanted a real-life quetzal a bit too badly. This awesome little dude clambered around on trees and munched on the then-oversized insects while gliding well above the ground.
Platybelodon (not a reptile but fuggin weird as shet)
I…I just…okay, what the hell was she thinking? Maybe it was practical for the time, but now it just…excuse me. -muffled hysterical laughter-
Sauroposeidon. I have no idea what’s going on here, and research has yielded no helpful results, other than this flamboyant beast was only unearthed at most 19 years ago. Not much is known about it, so just enjoy its…frogginess.
Helicoprion, also known as…well, weird to the nth degree. Little is known as to WHY its jaw is so strange, but it’s speculated to be a prototype of the more well-known(and more efficient) tooth-conveyor found in modern sharks.
Purussaurus was an enormous caiman(yes, a caiman, even though the picture makes one think alligator) that lived 8 million years ago, uncomfortably recent considering it was a good 15 meters long and ate freshwater whales, as well as…well, anything unlucky enough to be in its turf.
Therizinosaurus is the monotreme of the theropod world, with huge, seemingly predatory claws, big, three-toed feet with heavy talons…and a tiny, duck-billed head. What? Not much is known about this odd creature, it only having been discovered within the last 70 years.
There’s a bazillion others I could cover, but I’m going to make Precambrian weirdos and pterodons a separate post. This was just a blurb to whet insatiable minds.