Awesome Megafauna Skulls!

My last weird and awesome skull post was really popular, so I decided to do one about something else I’m excessively interested in: Megafauna! This isn’t at all a comprehensive list of the coolest ones, not by a long shot, so you should definitely look up some of the BBC docs on Youtube or google ones from your continent!

The cave bear! (N. America)

‘Hell Pigs’ (N. America) Actually entelodonts, unrelated to pigs at all and more closely tied to hippos and cetaceans! Dat sagittal crest amirite

The Stag Moose  @allosauroid brought to my attention that this is the skull of the Irish elk, Megaloceros, not a stag moose! (Eurasia) Which stood 6 foot at the shoulder/withers

Platybelodon (widespread) Google artist renditions of these guys, you won’t be disappointed

Barbourofelis! (N. America) Like a smaller smilodon, with much cooler teeth. Look at those incisors!

Megatherium (S. America) Primitive sloths the size of elephants!

Titanus Walleri (N. America) Other continents had equally large if not larger ‘terror birds’

Paraceratherium (Eurasia) One of the largest terrestrial mammals we’ve ever discovered. It was actually a species of hornless rhino! Google artist recs of these guys, too

Diprotodon (Australia) The largest known marsupial, which was the size of a hippopotamus and stood 6 feet tall

I saved Glyptodon (S. America) for last, because these things have some of the weirdest skulls I’ve ever seen. They were technically armadillos, but reached the size of a Volkswagen Beetle!

Something that really upsets me about palaeoartists who draw extinct mammals in particular is the rampant shrinkwrapping.

Compare a hippo skull and hippo head:

Or a pig:

And now look at how extinct mammals are depicted. Like entelodonts:

Or uintatheres:

It just……really doesn’t follow what we know about mammals, at all. I’d wager both entelodonts and uintatheres had a LOT of soft tissue on their heads completely obscuring the shape of their skulls, and so did a lot of other extinct mammals.

bugcthulhu  asked:

Do you know that thing about Andrewsarchus possibly being a relative of entelodonts?

This question opened up a rabbit hole of extinct mammal classifications that I may never fully recover from falling into.

Andrewsarchus is an extinct mammal from Eocene Mongolia, approximately 45 million years ago.  It is currently known from only one fossil - the skull pictured above, which measures almost three feet in length.  Based on its great size, and its large and powerful-looking teeth, its discoverer - 20th century naturalist, paleontologist, and Indiana Jones inspiration Roy Chapman Andrews - claimed it was the largest known land-going mammalian carnivore.

Based on the shapes of its muzzle and teeth, Andrewsarchus was classified as a mesonychid.  Mesonychids were carnivorous animals resembling wolves, but were actually artiodactyls (”even-toed ungulates”), more closely related to horses than to canines.

Since the shape of its body is unknown, Andrewsarchus was frequently reconstructed as a massive doglike animal, such as in the BBC miniseries Walking With Prehistoric Beasts.

However, more recent analysis and anatomical comparisons show that Andrewsarchus was not a mesonychid at all.  It was instead more closely related to entelodonts.

Entelodonts - as depicted by Walking With Prehistoric Beasts, above - resemble pigs, and were in fact artiodactyls along with pigs, but were more closely related to hippos.  Based on this new evidence, Andrewsarchus has been given a more accurate reconstruction, and now is speculated to have looked like this:

…Well, that’s kind of a letdown, isn’t it?  It’s not the gigantic slavering dog-beast we all once thought.  It was actually a pretty average-looking animal.  It didn’t practice its scowl in the mirror, and it didn’t walk around with its teeth constantly exposed.  It was, in short, a real-life animal, and not a “prehistoric beast”.

That’s more than I can say for those movie-monster entelodonts up there.  Entelodons - animals frequently referred to as “hell pigs”, in a rare case of prehistoric mammals experiencing the monsterization that so frequently plagues dinosaurs - are traditionally reconstructed with terrifying horns and spikes jutting forth from their heads, based on their presence on the skulls; however, it’s much more likely that these bone struts were completely internal, and supported large and powerful jaw muscles.

Not every animal with a weird-looking skull is a carnivorous monster.  When in doubt, remember that hippo skulls look like this:

Imagine what paleontologists fifty million years from now might imagine at the sight of such a beast!

Entelodonts are usually portrayed as pretty fierce and violent, but I’m sure they had some tender moments as well. (I love doing research for my drawings but I found no info about how Entelodonts care for offspring. Since they’re so closely related to hippos, which are pretty doting mothers, I’d like to think Entelodonts are similar). 


These Animals Were Just As Awesome and Fascinating As Dinosaurs

Fossil mammals have been in the shadows for too long.

by Brian Switek

If you’re in New York City and need a break from the swarms crowding the sidewalks, I know where you can go. The Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals in the American Museum of Natural History is almost always quiet.

You may bump into the occasional student trying to fill out a science class scavenger hunt or a confused family wondering where the dinosaurs are, but the hall is usually as hushed as a tomb. That’s fitting for a room boasting skeletons of fossil beasts shoved into almost every corner, but it’s also a shame.

I’ve seen the same at other major museums: the Field Museum in Chicago; the Carnegie in Pittsburgh; the Peabody in New Haven, Connecticut; the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History; the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; and more. Hordes of children and adult visitors pack the dinosaur halls, but the fossil mammals stand in the shadows—dominated by the reptiles in death just as they were in life.

After a mass extinction released mammals from the tyranny of the dinosaurian reign, they became even more strange and spectacular. But even these species have been obscured by the popularity of the scaly and fuzzy reptiles. Some visitors, assuming that any skeleton in a museum must be from the Mesozoic, even go so far as to insult giant sloths, multitoed horses, and enormous elephants by calling them dinosaurs…

(read more: Slate.com)

photographs by Brian Switek; illustrations: Heinrich Harder, Dmitry Bogdanov, and Robert Bruce Horsfall

Daeodon, from the late Oligocene and early Miocene of North America (~29-19 mya). About 1.8m tall at the shoulders (6′), it was one of the last and largest of the entelodonts, a group of omnivorous even-toed ungulates with long bone-crushing jaws.

Although often called “hell pigs” or “terminator pigs”, entelodonts weren’t actually pigs at all – instead they were much more closely related to hippos, whales, and Andrewsarchus.


Doodle dump! It’s been awhile since I’ve made one of these.

(Row 1, left) For Inktober, I’ve been doing a little project called Daily Dino & Prehistoric Pals, which you can find on my art blog at @avigorito-art. I naturally decided to be a dork and make some Cenozoic GUG, with Ganon as an Entelodont, Link as a dire wolf, and Nabooru as a Smilodon.
(Row 1, right) Some Nabgsan and Midlink furries. I just wanted an excuse to draw Midna as a panther, I’m sorry.
(Row 2, left) Zelda dress design. I plan to explore her design more, but the sketch turned out decent.
(Row 2, middle) some Ghirahim
(Row 2. right) Although it doesn’t happen in the story, Roy and I are super open to the concept of Link and Vridi as a ship.
(Row 3) Nabsgan nose smooshin’
(Row 4) Since they’re all bratty kids right now in the comic (Vridi is an exception though), I just wanted to draw them chummin’ around.
(Row 5) GUG!Ganon hanging with @leafyns’ Ganon!

-Mod Junior


Andrewsarchus is an extinct genus of mammal that lived during the middle Eocene epoch in what is now Inner Mongolia, China. Only one species is usually recognized, A. mongoliensis, known from a single skull of great size discovered in 1923. Generally classified as a mesonychid since its original description, most recent studies classify it as an artiodactyl, in one study specifically, as a member of the clade Cetacodontamorpha, closely related to entelodonts, hippos and whales.

Keep reading

Another NHMLA specimen: Entelodont archaeotherium. 

Entelodonts, sometimes facetiously termed hell pigs or terminator pigs are an extinct family of pig-like omnivores endemic to forests and plains of North America, Europe, and Asia from the late Eocene to early Miocene epochs.

For more fascinating fossil photos likes and news stories be sure to follow the Fossil Porn Tumblr Blog.

anonymous asked:

Do you suppose Entelodonts had pig-like snouts, or something more along the lines of Warthogs? Nearly all reconstructions I have seen depict them with dog or crocodilian like snouts, nothing particularly porcine.

I’d imagine more warthog-esque – but keep in mind i am by no means a mammal expert.

anonymous asked:

What are your top five megafauna?

Entelodonts also known as the “Terror Pig” 

They stood close to 7 feet tall at the should and weighed close to a thousand lbs. Also teeth… Massive fucking teeth.

Titanoboa, like a regular boa but 42 feet long and weighing over a ton.

Short Face Bear, an estimated 5-6 feet at the shoulder and was 10-12 feet talk standing on its hind legs, though claw marks have been found as high as 15 feet on cave walls suggesting even larger short faced bears.

Glyptodons, huge ancestors to the pangolin and armadillo.

Argentavis magnificens, one of the largest known flying birds they had an estimated wing span of 23 feet. 


Also known as “hell-pigs”, though they were related more closely to hippos and whales than to pigs, Entelodonts were huge pig-like animals that lived during the Eocene-Miocene and appeared to have been one of the largest and most formidable land predators and/or scavengers alive at the time. They were omnivores, mostly, but judging by the massive design of their jaws it’s fairly obvious that they would have tackled large prey as well as plant matter. It is thought that they would have preyed on animals as large as Eporeodon, which grew to the size of a cow. And apparently some Entelodonts, such as Archaeotherium, have been discovered to have hoarded or cached their food- with the discovery of a cache of several early camels. They were so successful that they existed on this planet for approximately 21 million years.

The largest was horse-sized Daeodon, which could have weighed up to 930lbs and stood at around 6.9 feet tall.

(top photo)