#2. Spiders Caught in the Act of Being Terrifying
Bones are great and all, but wouldn't it be cool if we could see prehistoric animals just as they were in life, frozen in action in some sort of glassy time capsule? That's what amber is good for -- ancient fossilized tree sap that preserves mosquitoes so perfectly that Jurassic Park scientists can slurp still-viable dino blood out of them. OK, they can't really do that, but amber still does a fantastic job at preserving all sorts of creatures, such as this unfortunate gecko:
Oregon State University via ScienceDaily
At least he probably had insurance.
Most creatures found trapped in amber were just crawling around minding their own business, so amber nuggets are typically fairly boring. But on certain rare occasions a critter might get caught by surprise while doing something interesting, and when this happens, it's usually a spider eating something alive. Because if Mother Nature is going to bother capturing a perfect still-life for us humans to enjoy later, why leave behind something awesome like a flawlessly preserved T. rex when she could instead present us with everlasting horror?
Oregon State University via Discovery News
We'd feel sorry for this wasp, but seriously, fuck wasps.
Here we have an orb-weaver spider bearing down on a wasp caught in its web, and even after 100 million years the silky web strands are still intact. Today, this type of wasp is a parasite known for injecting its larvae into spider eggs. So either the wasps were already hijacking spider eggs way back in the dino days and this fellow just happened to get caught in the act, or his descendants started a wanton campaign for vengeance, slaughtering unborn spiders to redeem the species' honor.
Baby-killing wasps weren't the only creatures on the spiders' menu, though. This next petrified snapshot shows a female spider devouring her own mate in a fit of coital munchies:
Don't knock getting devoured while having sex until you've tried it!
But perhaps even more unlucky than the lady spider's mate/appetizer is the poor bastard of a beetle who was trapped nearby, presumably while sitting very, very still and keeping very, very quiet:
... and masturbating furiously.
The most chilling aspect of these pieces is that even as they were being swallowed up in gooey tree sap, the spiders clearly didn't give a single shit and kept right on with their grisly business, thus proving that these eight-legged hell-creatures have been dedicated to keeping terror alive since the beginning of time.
#1. Prehistoric Porn
You know what's missing from our comprehensive archive of kickass fossil scenes? Disturbing dead animal pornography.
Every single animal living on the planet right now is the product of tens of millions of generations playing vigorous sessions of groin-tag. With those numbers, it stands to reason that sometime, somewhere, somehow, a happily humping couple would suddenly die in a compromising position, and we'd duly post their humiliating pictures on the Internet. Here's a pair of turtles who died of asphyxiation while having sex:
Naturmuseum Senckenberg via LiveScience
These aren't actually fossils. Turtles are just a bit slow to finish is all.
Trilobites were the dominant life forms of the Paleozoic seas, and they certainly didn't rise to such incredible numbers without stripping off their shells and engaging in vast, slithering, naked orgies:
University of Cincinnati
If there wasn't already a bizarre "-philia" for this kind of thing, we probably just inspired one.
So out of all these fucking fossils, which one takes the crown as the definitive voyeuristic glimpse of the sex that time forgot? To answer this question, we turn to Dorion Sagan, son of "The" Carl Sagan, who waxes erotic on the world's first recorded ejaculation in his book Death and Sex:
Wait, is your mom in the room? Keep scrolling, keep scrolling!
"Another sample of rock, sliced thin and observed with a microscope, shows Aglaophyton's antheridium, its male sex organ -- filled with sperm cells ready to explode. Here, preserved by chance, with neither compromised actors nor moral qualm, is a geographic equivalent of the 'money shot' of pornographic films -- an ejaculation event 140,000 times older than Homer's Odyssey, 400 times older than the human species, and almost as old as the appearance of animals in the fossil record."
We couldn't possibly have put it any better than Mr. Sagan, so we'll just add this single word in closing: ew.
Related Reading: Some prehistoric monsters are still around, like the lamprey (AKA condom full of teeth). For a look at the weird directions human evolution could have taken, read this article and learn about our Hobbit cousins. And did you know the Loch Ness monster might have been a Plesiosaur? It makes sense.