What are the coolest and most unusual prehistoric animals (including dinosaurs)?
- I present you the classic. Tyrannosaurus rex
there are lots of cool prehistoric creatures. i'm going to list a few of my Favourites mostly unknowns.
This question made me reminisce my childhood more than ever!!!
As a child, I owned a thin book that I had got free with a pack of Kellogg's Chocos. It contained short descriptive paragraphs on a few chosen animals. The first few pages dealt with prehistoric animals that utterly captivated me and still do! I remember gawping and gawking at the images of the prehistoric reptiles (my favorite groups of animals) with my imagination caught in a frenzy; I would then proceed to educate my parents -in an ever so endearing manner- on how an erect Iguanodon was reminiscent of The Godzilla and upon getting a nod of approval I'd jump up, do an exaggerated fist pump, exclaiming "Gotcha!".
Then I would begin to drill them: "See Papa, the book says Iguanodon was a slow moving plant-eater", I'd then conclude with a downward inflection, "It couldn't have been the Godzilla".
This is me reading that book. Bah! Not me but I was just as cute. God promise;)
Ooooooooh! I like this question!
Do me a favour and look up the BBC'S Walking with Beasts series. This is an entire television series dedicated to re-creating extinct mammals that would've existed from 65 million years ago, all the way up to the last ice age, about 50,000 years ago. (It also has one of the best god-damn soundtracks I've ever heard)
As much as we all love the dinosaurs, the variety of mammals that popped up after they disappeared is actually really cool. Since there were now entire ecosystems that were wiped out with that mass extinction, mammals started evolving into many different species to fill in these empty ecological niches. I'll skip over the obvious choices, (like the sabre-toothed cats, mammoths, or the ever beloved T-Rex) and try to mention the ones that you might not have heard of.
A particular favourite of mine is the Ambulocetus - the "Walking Wale."
Here are my picks from every period, starting from the origin of animals at the Cambrian. Note that I'm also considering overall scientific value, since that should be the main factor when considering the coolness of a fossil.
If you want weird, you can choose most of the animals from the Cambrian freakshow in the Burgess Shale or Chengjiang localities. There also these amazingly-preserved tiny animals from the Orsten localities, the most bizarre of which is the top middle. That's a pentastomid, a parasite. The four stubs are hooks it uses to attach on to its host. What they were parasitising back then isn't known, probably conodonts.
Meet Livyatan melvillei, a creature named after the gigantic sea monster mentioned in the bible. Imagine a sperm whale, not specialized in hunting giant squid in the deep sea, but in hunting other sea mammals, including whales.