7 (Thankfully) Extinct Giant Versions of Modern Animals

The animal kingdom is loaded with some pretty formidable creatures, a few of which we as humans are only barely able to keep in line even with modern technology. As it turns out, many of these species are the diminutive descendents of giants so mind bogglingly huge and terrifying that they could probably take over the entire world with minimal effort.

#7. Meganeura, The Giant Dragonfly

Meganeura were enormous dragonfly-like insects with wingspans the length of an average toddler, making them among the largest flying predatory insects in the history of the world. Their diet consisted mainly of other insects, small amphibians and the dreams of children.

Some scientists think that Meganeura were actually too big to be able to survive in the current atmosphere, citing the higher oxygen concentration in the prehistoric world as the only way an insect its size would be able to breathe in enough to support its massive body. By all accounts, this makes Meganeura one of the biggest bullets ever dodged by the human race, because if one of them collided with a bug zapper the resulting inferno would probably burn down your entire backyard.

Why it's a Good Thing They're Dead:


#6. Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, The Giant Sea Scorpion

"Giant scorpion" was all this thing needed in its name to be pretty fucking terrifying. Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, the largest bug on record, managed to up the ante by being an ancient giant scorpion from beneath the waves. It may just be us, but that makes it way worse somehow.

Particularly if you picture it swimming up and pinching your scrotum.

Jaekelopterus lived in freshwater lakes and streams, unleashing all eight-feet of its anthropodic rage on unsuspecting victims. Though referred to as a sea scorpion, it was really more of an oversized lobster, a fact which does nothing to decrease its hideousness. Or its claws, which were the size of a grown man's head.

Did we mention the claws? Because we cannot stress those enough.

Why it's a Good Thing They're Dead:

We already depend on fresh water as an alternative to swimming in the ocean, because rivers tend to be relatively free of massive lurking predators. Having six or seven prehistoric death lobsters crawling around in the silt would seriously affect the "wow" factor of that weekend at your uncle's lake house. Also, the amount of food a scavenging beast like Jaekelopterus would need to consume would reduce fishing trips to a level of boredom the human mind can barely comprehend.

"Boy, it just hasn't been the same since the scorpion lobsters showed up."

#5. Argentavis magnificens, The Giant Bird

We as humans are already pretty envious of birds--they can fly around and shit on anything they want, something we'd need both a jetpack and precision diarrhea to accomplish.

As if answering the dare to make us feel more inadequate, the world gave us Argentavis magnificens, the largest flying bird in recorded history. These beasts possessed a wingspan between 19- and 26-feet, and a wing area of 75-feet, which you may notice is only slightly smaller than a Lear Jet. In addition to its staggering size and 240-pound weight, the bird is believed to have swallowed prey as large as cattle in one fell swoop.

It is important to note that cattle are larger than humans.

Why it's a Good Thing They're Dead:

Backyards would not be fenced. They'd be caged. Blue skies wouldn't be a beacon of hope so much as a grim reminder of your own mortality. Say good bye to bicycles, convertibles, outdoor sporting events. When birds the size of a Volkswagen are patrolling the skies, anything that doesn't involve a sky-raptor resistant roof over your head officially falls under the category of "not fucking worth it." Half of the Gross National Product would need to be devoted to the construction of giant scarecrows, which depending on how gullible they were, would only work on the birds who'd seen Voltron.

"Really, Mitch, this is just one big money pit. The birds are going to kill us all anyway."

#4. Arctodus simus, The Giant Bear

To be perfectly honest, few things could kick as much ass as a gargantuan prehistoric bear.

Exhibit A.

Arctodus simus, the giant short-faced bear, succeeded in being both gargantuan and prehistoric. Standing 12-feet tall on its hind legs and weighing over a ton, this bear probably could've ripped the face off of every land animal currently in existence without too much trouble. Most experts believe that hunting had a lot to do with Arctodus' extinction, either by being hunted directly or having their food supply depleted by early man.

You can totally buy a giant bear skeleton for your home at this place.

Why it's a Good Thing They're Dead:

Like most extinct mammals from the Ice Age, Arctodus competed pretty heavily with human beings for the same natural resources (food and water). We really only came out on top because we figured out how to make weapons first, so if these bears were still hanging around, it's entirely possible we'd still be competing with them, only instead of trout and berries it would be for waterfront property and lucrative employment opportunities.

"That promotion is MIIIINE!"

Also, it could knock your goddamn head off with one blow, and who needs that kind of stress.

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