Question What's the weirdest extinct animal?

SHaines

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Nov 12, 2019
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Any fan of old cartoons is aware of the legendary dodo bird, but the vast history of species on Earth gets a whole lot weirder.

So, share your thoughts on the wildest, weirdest, or wackiest extinct animals.

This is tough for me, since I'm fascinated by all sorts of creatures great and small. One of the weirdest for me is probably pretty plain, if you're really well informed about ancient life: dunkleosteus.

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While it's just a really big, powerful beast with an insanely strong bite, the fact that so many creatures in the ancient world had heavy armor plating that other creatures needed to develop jaws that crush through armor is just wonderful and amazing.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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I'm always blown away by helioprion, aka the buzz-saw shark. Never seen anything like it's mouth before! If you saw that coming towards you, I think you'd be trying to evolve legs to crawl onto land as quick as possible!
And I know the question asked for animals specifically, but the fascination of prototaxites is like a siren call for "weird". Imagine the land, back when trees were tiny, covered in eight metre tall mushroom forests! Silent, because this was before birds. Wonderfully creepy!
 
Jan 15, 2020
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This is cheating as this entity isn't technically extinct, but still ruddy weird!

That Blob is mega-cool. I wonder if it is related to the extinct Ediacarans, by any chance? They seemed to share some really odd features similar to the Blob - no obvious mouth but able to feed being just one of them. It could be a living fossil!
 
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Jul 27, 2020
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The weirdest extinct animal is not so weird from appearance, etc., but from how it is interpreted by so many "experts" in the field. That would be Archaeopteryx lithographica.

This creature, and all the feathered specimens (except the phony ones) from China are not in direct line of descent from theropods, but split off the main reptilian line shortly after the P/T extinction.

Relating the avian lineage to a theropod ancestry is one of the biggest boondoggles in the history of science. Some would call that weird. All those people calling birds "dinosaurs", and being sooooo wrong. You have to call that weird. How could they be so blind, and deny the real evidence that proves this is not true?

It just keeps getting weirder and weirder.......
 
Jan 15, 2020
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I was under the impression that Archaeopteryx lithographica was only represented so far by a single fossilized feather, which may not even belong to the Archaeopteryx lineage at all. So it is probably a bit difficult to tell what it looked like in life.
 
Jul 27, 2020
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I was under the impression that Archaeopteryx lithographica was only represented so far by a single fossilized feather, which may not even belong to the Archaeopteryx lineage at all. So it is probably a bit difficult to tell what it looked like in life.
There are numerous fossils of Archaeopteryx*, many of them finely detailed, and some nearly complete. And you certainly would not get much from a single feather, other than it came from a bird, not a dinosaur.

Birds evolved from "climbing gliders" in arboreal environments, a form not represented in any early theropod fossils. If such therapods existed, they would be without feathers and would have arose over 200 mya. The true precursor to birds did not start gliding until feathers evolved.

Theropods arose as bipedal, bottom heavy and top light, with diminutive arms. It was an apex terrestrial predator with no evolutionary pressure to evolve flight. To be sure. it was no more likely to evolve flight than a kangaroo.


* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx
 
Aug 3, 2020
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I got Archaeopteryx mixed up with Apteryx--totally different "birds".

Do you remember: "Hi, I'm an apteryx. A wingless bird with hairy feathers." ?
 
Mar 6, 2020
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Pretty much any of the extinct giant animals of Australia. Huge kangaroos that couldn't hop, tapirs 8 feet long, wombats the size of a rhinoceros... The list goes on, each animal stranger than the next.
 

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