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20 Extinct Giants of Prehistoric Times
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19. Saber-toothed Tiger

Known as Smilodon, the saber-toothed tiger most commonly lived in North, South and Central America during the Pleistocene epoch. These animals are notable for their large canine teeth that extend from their mouth. The teeth were used to capture and kill prey quickly and could be as long as 1 foot.

20 Extinct Giants of Prehistoric Times
[Image via Sciencing]
Most saber-toothed tigers are roughly the size of modern cats and built compactly. They had shorter spines, feet, and tails than most felines. Comparable to a jaguar, saber-toothed tigers weighed between 120 and 220 pounds. These mammals were considered apex predators and preyed on large mammals. Bison, pig-like animals called Platygonus and a llama-related creature called Hemiauchenia were targets of the cunning saber-toothed tiger. The dire wolf and American lion were competitors of the saber-toothed tiger. Although it’s named tiger, this mammal is not related to tigers or other modern cats.

20 Extinct Giants of Prehistoric Times
Milwaukee P. Museum

20. Giant Dragonfly

Related to modern dragonflies, the Meganeura is the biggest predatory flying insect ever discovered. Its wingspan reaches from 25 to 28 inches. This terrifying insect lived on Earth roughly 300 million years ago. Higher oxygen concentrations in prehistoric times made it possible for this bug to breathe enough to support its size. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about encountering these bugs that are one quarter the size of a human!

20 Extinct Giants of Prehistoric Times
[Image via Eartharchives]
Additionally, a lack of predators contributed to the Meganeura being able to evolve to be so large. Scientists also believe that because they were developed in water before appearing on land as adults, they were more equipped to handle high oxygen levels. Meganeura was a predatory species and feasted on other insects. It’s also possible that they ate small amphibians.

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