Weird Nature Things That Were Terrifyingly Bigger in Prehistoric Times  

Jacoby Bancroft
112.8k views 16 items

There are a lot of benefits to living in today’s time and not roaming about in some prehistoric era. How could we possibly survive without deodorant, SnapChat, and the musical stylings of Beyoncé? But perhaps the biggest perk of not being around back then is not having to deal with giant prehistoric animals. Everything truly was bigger back then. Giant insects, huge mammals, and more all called the earth their home. Most of these long-ago giants have some distant relative still living today, and those smaller versions are not necessarily what you would expect. Check out the list below for things that were terrifyingly bigger in the prehistoric era.   


Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Things That Were Terrifyingly Bigger in Prehistoric Times
Photo:  Chris Parker/ДиБгд

Known as J. rhenaniae, this giant sea scorpion was an ancient relative of modern-day land scorpions, and obviously much bigger. A top predator in its time, this beast had claws with large sharp teeth to grasp and hold slippery fish. That’s right, these creatures resided only in the water, and for good reason. Although their bodies were huge, their legs were flimsy and any attempt to go on land would lead to a huge collapse. The biggest one on record measures a tad over eight feet and likely devoured anything smaller than it was, even members of its own species. What’s scarier than a giant sea scorpion? A giant cannibalistic sea scorpion.


Clam is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Things That Were Terrifyingly Bigger in Prehistoric Times
Photo:  Daderot/Michael Dorausch

The modern clam isn’t really that scary unless you picture its giant prehistoric relative. Scientifically named the platyceramus, the giant clam could reach over nine feet in diameter. Anything that has the capacity to open up and swallow you whole is frightening. Imagine having to tell your story in the afterlife and admitting you were eaten by a giant clam. It’s probably one of the most embarrassing ways to die, but at least you can dream of the huge pearl you might find in one of those things. Luckily, the platyceramus was only found deep underneath the sea.


Rat is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Things That Were Terrifyingly Bigger in Prehistoric Times
Photo:  Andres Rinderknecht & Ernesto Blanco /madaise

Instead of a small, furry creature loitering around your dumpster, imagine a ten-foot-long, 2,200-pound monster of a rat that could regularly fend off saber-toothed cats and meat-eating birds. That’s the story of the Josephoartigasia monesi, an ancient, bull-sized relative of the rat, and the world’s largest recorded rodent. Most likely this creature fed on aquatic plants and fruits because of the shape of its teeth and lived in South America with an abundance of similar creatures. So next time you get scared by a rat, remember that dealing with a small rat is at least much better than dealing with its ancient brethren. 


Sloth is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Things That Were Terrifyingly Bigger in Prehistoric Times
Photo:  ДиБгд/Miranda

The sad truth is that today’s sloths are silly.They move slowly, they’re oddly shaped, and they make Kristen Bell dissolve into hysterics. Maybe we wouldn’t laugh at them as much if we knew what they were related to. The mighty megatherium is one of the most famous giant mammals that existed on earth after the dinosaurs were wiped out. When it walked on all fours, it could reach a length of almost 20 feet and could stand on its hind legs to reach a monstrous 13-foot height. Traditionally, research indicates that the megatherium was a herbivore, but some insist that the giant sloth also ate meat and scavenged the bodies of other dead animals, scaring other creatures away. That’s not too far out of the realm of possibility because if a giant sloth wants to eat, you better just get out of its way.