Prehistory had no shortage of terrifying monsters, with everything from the more well-known Raptors and Rexes to super rats and three-eyed shrimp. As pants-ruining as all those things might be, however, science is always unearthing new veins of rich, ancient terror-beasts that would make H.P. Lovecraft terror-puke right in Stephen King's eye.
8A Carnivorous Bird Monster With a 40-Foot Wingspan
The concept of a flying, carnivorous lizard is plenty terrifying on its own. Even in movies, pterodactyls and such are pretty small, because you simply don't need to up the fear quotient by depicting the things as 40 feet across or like 400 pounds. But that didn't stop nature from being the unholy little achiever that it is and doing just that.
And then putting funny little berets on their heads.
The Azhdarchidae family were a group of gigantic pterosaurs that plied the skies of the late Cretaceous. Members of the group included Quetzalcoatlus (named after the Aztec sun god Quetzalcoatl, a giant feathered serpent), Azhdarcho (named after a type of Uzbek dragon) and Titanopteryx (whose name means "really big opteryx"). Now, let's not get carried away and start picturing leathery-winged reptilian bird-things hunting you down from the skies and carrying you off to feed their younglings. Evidence shows that they were simply too large to have effectively grabbed prey and flown off with it.
Oh, is that not comforting? That the bird monster's only problem was being too fucking gargantuan to fly away with your corpse after it killed you? Sorry. Does this scale diagram help?
"Psh. Yeah, whatever, Evil Giraffe Bird. This is one office worker who remains unimpressed."
The Azhdarchidae didn't fly away with its prey like modern-day hawks, but only because that's nowhere near terrifying enough. No, the Azhdarchidae would spot you from the air, slam down into the ground next to you and creepily hobble-wing-charge your ass, scooping you up into its huge, jagged beak. We're not exaggerating that disturbing, high-speed death-waddle -- scientists believe that Azhdarchidae had a "particularly efficient terrestrial locomotion," which they were able to discern from preserved tracks that showed it placing its feet in front of its wing-claws as it moved.
This is basically Cloverfield with wings.
Meaning the 12-foot-tall carnivorous bird-reptile could gallop.
As in, gallop like a horse.
Like a horse that hates sanity and life in equal measure.
7The T. Rex ... Dog?
Hang on, his name tag says "Aaargh please call animal control." That's weird.
No, that's not real, is it? That looks like the end boss of a Resident Evil game. It looks like one of the slags from Borderlands. It looks like the terrifying gritty reboot of Dino for the new Flintstones movie.
Sadly, that beast is not the fever dream of a horror game designer, but rather a real, once-living predator called a gorgonopsid, which was essentially a bear-sized saber-toothed dog-lizard with a 3-foot-long skull. Gorgonopsids of the genus Inostrancevia were even larger -- about the size of a rhino -- with canines roughly 4 inches long. Gorgonopsids were the dominant predator on land for the bulk of the Permian period, only being wiped out by the Permian-Triassic extinction event, which rebooted 90 percent of all life on Earth.
When it takes a global event to stop the bastard, what can your puny firearms, tiny fists and feeble prayers do?