Hidden deep underground are some of the rarest treasures in all of science. Formed from immense pressure over millions of years, fossils tell us the story of our long-lost ancestors and the strange creatures that populated their world. Bizarre fossil discoveries are becoming more common as we develop new digging techniques and open our minds to the otherworldly phenomenon that is prehistoric life. Many of these insane fossils changed our understanding of the world forever, and we're still just beginning to understand the importance of these bony artifacts.
While dinosaurs are some of the most famous of all extinct species, not all of the strangest fossils ever discovered came from those lizards. Some of the most bizarre fossils came from creatures so alien, you have to see them to believe they're real. These are the last remnants of the oldest lifeforms on the planet, preserved in time and rock for future generations to marvel at.
A Velociraptor And Its Prey Were Fossilized Mid-Combat
Velociraptors are poorly understood outside of the paleontological community, mostly due to inaccuracies in the Jurassic Park franchise. No, velociraptors were not six-foot-tall, hyper-intelligent carnage machines. The velociraptor was actually about the size of a turkey and more of a scavenger than a predator. Still, that doesn't mean that some raptors weren't predatory in nature.
One fossil actually captures a raptor preying on a Protoceratops, but the fight was much closer than you'd imagine. The raptor had pierced the Protoceratops with its massive toe claw, but the Protoceratops managed to bite and break the raptor's arm using its powerful beak. The two passed together, probably due to the unexpected collapse of a sand dune.8,404313Is this cool?
One Dinosaur Was Preserved While Incubating Her Nest
One fossil of a dedicated mother incubating her eggs made waves when it was discovered in the Gobi Desert. The 80 million-year-old Oviraptor helped prove that some dinosaurs had strong parental instincts at a time when there was little evidence to support the idea. It also strengthened the idea that dinosaurs and birds were remarkably similar.
The poor mother was likely covered in sand while defending her nest from the elements, immortalizing her as one of the best mothers of prehistory.5,149214Is this cool?
A Pterodactyl-Eating Fish Met Its End In The Middle Of A Meal
If you can believe it, there was a time when giant fish were literally plucking winged reptiles from the sky. That's exactly what happened with this fossil, which depicts an Aspidorhynchus munching on a small pterosaur known as Rhamphorhynchus. Unfortunately for both predator and prey, neither one would escape this encounter alive.
The pterosaur proved too large for the Aspidorhynchus, which may have gotten its teeth stuck in the flying reptile's leather wing. The pterosaur likely ran out of oxygen, and the monster fish probably starved soon after.5,685249Is this cool?
2 Mammoths Accidentally Locked Tusks While Fighting And Likely Starved
Mammoths were massive animals, so it's not surprising that a fight between two of these behemoths could turn deadly. A 20-year-old paleontologist made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery in 1962 when he was excavating a mammoth skeleton only to find another mammoth tangled up in its tusks. The two had locked tusks while sparring, the last mistake they would ever make.
Researchers believe the two mammoths were likely fighting over mating rights with a female before the fight turned ugly. One mammoth's tusk was found embedded in the other's eye socket, but neither could gain enough of an edge on their opponent for there to be a true winner.5,056232Is this cool?