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!


Scientists find 3.77-billion-year-old fossils that may be from Earth’s earliest life forms

  • Scientists may have just discovered examples of some of the earliest life forms on Earth.
  • In an article published in the journal Nature, researchers from University College London and other institutions outlined their discovery of microfossils found in rocks from Canada’s Nuvvuagittuq belt.
  • The researchers’ estimate that the microscopic fossils, which have a straw-like shape, are anywhere from 3.77 billion to 4.28 billion years old — making them the oldest fossils ever discovered. Read more (3/1/17 3:53 PM)

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Got an extra $750k burning a hole in your pocket? Sounds like you need to buy the largest fossil crocodile ever found in Green River, Wyoming! It’s 50 million years old, so you’re only paying 1.5 cents per year ;)

Soo many amazing things to see at the Tucson Fossil & Mineral shows! Spread between 58 locations, it’s basically a Where’s Waldo of dinosaurs.

Extremely Rare Fossil Turtle - Green River Formation, Rocky Mountains, USA

Fossil turtles from the Green River Formation are extremely rare. This is a well preserved, fifty million-year-old Trionyx softshell turtle in limestone. It was found in the upper layers of the F-1 Green River Formation. The stone also contains 9 small Knightia eocaena and a small Diplomystus dentatus.

Curator of Micropaleontology Angelina Messina found beauty and wonder in some of the Museum’s tiniest specimens. She joined the staff in the 1930s, and with the help of Assistant Curator Eleanor Salmon, prepared catalogs of foraminifera—miniscule organisms that provide important markers to geologists and hold vital records of ancient climates within their fossilized chambers. Messina’s work won international recognition. Her 69-volume Catalogue of Foraminifera was a seminal work in micropaleontology, used in universities and every major micropaleontological laboratory of the large oil companies, and she also co-founded the journal Micropaleontology in 1955. Her work classifying the Museum’s foraminifera collection is still used by paleontologists, geologists, and climate scientists today. The collection itself is now part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to re-house and CT scan important specimens. 

Work on these tiny fossils continues at the Museum today. In this episode of Shelf Life Scientific Assistant Bushra Hussaini, researcher Ellen Thomas, Curator Neil Landman, and intern Shaun Mahmood are preserving this invaluable collection.


Extinct monsters and creatures of other days  a popular account of some of the larger forms of ancient animal life  

by Rev. H. N. Hutchinson.

With illustrations by J. Smit, Alice B. Woodward, J. Green, Charles Knight
Publication info London :Chapman & Hall,1910.
BHL Collections:
Curious and Bizarre Creatures
Ernst Mayr Library of the MCZ, Harvard University