History UsefulNotes / PrehistoricLIfeMammals

19th Feb '17 11:12:09 AM MasterofGalaxies4628
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* A 2008 discovery made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is believed to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. That said, they likely had a wide and varied appetite, as sperm whales do today. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' is known to have occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, at the time of writing it's mostly speculation. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.

to:

* A 2008 discovery made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws.jaws (think [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} Monstro]], but smaller). And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is believed to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. That said, they likely had a wide and varied appetite, as sperm whales do today. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' is known to have occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, at the time of writing it's mostly speculation. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.
8th Jan '17 1:40:17 PM Spinosegnosaurus77
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* ''All'' mammals were small and rodent-shaped in their evolutionary beginnings. Some became larger and more derived after the extinction of the dinosaurs, but none to the same level as whales. The first whale ancestors appeared only 10 million years or so after the non-avian dinosaurs' extinction. Once thought to have descended from dog-like mesonychids (see above), whales [[ScienceMarchesOn are now thought to be]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Even-toed_ungulate artiodactyls]] (even-toed ungulates), aka the group including camels, pigs, cattle, deer, and hippos (their closest relative). The first whales may have descended from the aforementioned anthracotheres, or possibly ''Indohyus'' ("Indian pig"), which was only discovered in 2007. They probably spent much of their time on land, feeding on dead fish and drowned animals. ''Ambulocetus'' (the "walking whale") is a good example of this: still four-limbed, it was already a good swimmer, but still resembled anything but a whale. ''[[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]'' showed it as an ambush-hunter of small land mammals, like a modern Nile Crocodile; actually its lifestyle is unknown. Maybe ''Ambulocetus'' was a specialist fish-hunter like modern otters.

to:

* ''All'' mammals were small and rodent-shaped in their evolutionary beginnings. Some became larger and more derived after the extinction of the dinosaurs, but none to the same level as whales. The first whale ancestors appeared only 10 million years or so after the non-avian dinosaurs' extinction. Once thought to have descended from dog-like mesonychids (see above), whales [[ScienceMarchesOn are now thought to be]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Even-toed_ungulate artiodactyls]] (even-toed ungulates), aka the group including camels, pigs, cattle, deer, and hippos (their closest relative). The first whales may have descended from the aforementioned anthracotheres, or possibly ''Indohyus'' ("Indian pig"), which was only discovered in 2007.pig"). They probably spent much of their time on land, feeding on dead fish and drowned animals. ''Ambulocetus'' (the "walking whale") is a good example of this: still four-limbed, it was already a good swimmer, but still resembled anything but a whale. ''[[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]'' showed it as an ambush-hunter of small land mammals, like a modern Nile Crocodile; actually its lifestyle is unknown. Maybe ''Ambulocetus'' was a specialist fish-hunter like modern otters.
8th Jan '17 1:37:24 PM Spinosegnosaurus77
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* The mesonychids were the first meat-eating mammals which obtained a size larger than a house cat. Rather dog-like or hyena-like in shape, they had hooves in their feet similar to modern pigs. Once, mesonychians were considered the ancestors of whales, because their skull (specifically their teeth and ear bones) resembles that of the most primitive cetacean known, ''Pakicetus''. We know now that the [[ScienceMarchesOn hippopotamus]] is the closest relative of whales and dolphins. The fossil record of prehistoric hippos is poorly known (we can mention ''Hippopotamus gorgops'', a close relative of the modern giant hippo but with extremely protruding, periscope-like eyes); on the other hand, the similar-looking Anthracotheres have a rich number of species described. They were probably the closest hippopotamus relatives, or even their ancestors. The main difference with hippos is their much smaller mouth; they probably didn't "yawn" like hippos do today.

to:

* The mesonychids were the first meat-eating mammals which obtained a size larger than a house cat. Rather dog-like or hyena-like in shape, they had hooves in their feet similar to modern pigs. Once, mesonychians were considered the ancestors of whales, because their skull (specifically their teeth and ear bones) resembles that of the most primitive cetacean known, ''Pakicetus''. We know now that the [[ScienceMarchesOn hippopotamus]] is the closest relative of whales and dolphins. The fossil record of prehistoric hippos is poorly known (we can mention ''Hippopotamus gorgops'', a close relative of the modern giant hippo but with extremely protruding, periscope-like eyes); eyes, as well as ''Kenyapotamus'', which was once considered a "missing link" between hippos and peccaries); on the other hand, the similar-looking Anthracotheres have a rich number of species described. They were probably the closest hippopotamus relatives, or even their ancestors. The main difference with hippos is their much smaller mouth; they probably didn't "yawn" like hippos do today.
30th Oct '16 6:09:44 PM MagnusForce
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* Among the first fish-shaped cetaceans, ''Basilosaurus'' reached the length of a modern baleen whale, but was much more slender, sometimes mentioned "[[UpToEleven eel-like]]" (by the way, it was still a whale!). When first discovered, its elongated shape was misidentified for a mosasaur-like marine reptile: hence its strange, reptile-sounding name ("king lizard"). At that time, all whales still were active hunters, like modern orcas and sperm whales, but still with differentiated teeth: pointed the anterior ones, serrated the posterior, an old legacy which betrays their origins from land mammals. The first filter feeders appeared much more recently, when our planet turned colder and immense shoals of krill began to float in polar waters. Other cetaceans, however, remained small and active predators, originating our dolphins. See also [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_cetaceans here]] to learn more about this fascinating story.

to:

* Among the first fish-shaped cetaceans, ''Basilosaurus'' reached the length of a modern baleen whale, but was much more slender, sometimes mentioned "[[UpToEleven eel-like]]" (by the way, it was still a whale!). When first discovered, its elongated shape was misidentified for a mosasaur-like marine reptile: hence its strange, reptile-sounding name ("king lizard").lizard"); there was an attempt to rename it ''Zeuglodon'' to fix the error, but nomenclature rules prevented that. At that time, all whales still were active hunters, like modern orcas and sperm whales, but still with differentiated teeth: pointed the anterior ones, serrated the posterior, an old legacy which betrays their origins from land mammals. The first filter feeders appeared much more recently, when our planet turned colder and immense shoals of krill began to float in polar waters. Other cetaceans, however, remained small and active predators, originating our dolphins. See also [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_cetaceans here]] to learn more about this fascinating story.



* Among those ancient dolphin-like cetaceans, some reached very unusual traits compared with the modern ones (even though our narwhal is not far away): ''Squalodon'' ("shark-toothed") had serrated teeth similar to a shark; ''Eurhinodelphis'' ("good-nosed dolphin") had a prominent upper jaw similar to a swordfish as well as the unrelated ichthyosaur ''Eurhinosaurus''. But the most astonishing is ''Odobenocetops'' the "walrus whale", with its two long tusks protruding backwards, and ''asymmetrical'' just like the modern single-tooth of the narwhal (in both case, the overgrown tooth is the left). The function of both the teeth of the odobenocetops and the tooth of the narwhal is still uncertain (maybe courtship device). Of course the ''Odobenocetops'' was the chosen cetacean in Sea Monsters as a prey of the giant shark "Megalodon", just because [[RuleOfCool it looks cool]].

to:

* Among those ancient dolphin-like cetaceans, some reached very unusual traits compared with the modern ones (even though our narwhal is not far away): ''Squalodon'' ("shark-toothed") had serrated teeth similar to a shark; ''Eurhinodelphis'' ("good-nosed dolphin") had a prominent upper jaw similar to a swordfish as well as the unrelated ichthyosaur ''Eurhinosaurus''. But the most astonishing is ''Odobenocetops'' the "walrus whale", with its two long tusks protruding backwards, and ''asymmetrical'' just like the modern single-tooth of the narwhal (in both case, the overgrown tooth is the left). The function of both the teeth of the odobenocetops and the tooth of the narwhal is still uncertain (maybe courtship device). Of course the ''Odobenocetops'' was the chosen cetacean in Sea Monsters as a prey of the giant shark juvenile "Megalodon", just because [[RuleOfCool it looks cool]].
9th Oct '16 1:20:57 AM harryhenry
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* A recent discovery (2008) made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is believed to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. That said, they likely had a wide and varied appetite, as sperm whales do today. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' is known to have occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, at the time of writing it's mostly speculation. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.

to:

* A recent 2008 discovery (2008) made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is believed to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. That said, they likely had a wide and varied appetite, as sperm whales do today. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' is known to have occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, at the time of writing it's mostly speculation. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.
8th Oct '16 10:45:49 PM DustSnitch
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* Modern Australia also was home to an unique animal which has no close modern relatives, with its contemporary the koala, wombat and the Diprotodonts being its closest relative: ''Thylacoleo'', (“pouched lion”) nicknamed the “marsupial lion”, with its species name, ''carnifex'', meaning [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "executioner"]]. It was so-called because its body shape, sharp claws, and short head remember modern big-cats; but unlike the latter, it had ''rodent-like incisors'' instead of the classic fangs, and guillotines instead of molars that it used to slice the neck of the prey to kill it instantly. Scientists once thought it was indeed vegetarian like a rodent; they now know it was predatory. Not only that, it could have been the most efficient mammalian predator ever. Despite being not bigger than a jaguar, some think it was able to kill [[BadAss even Diprotodonts and giant kangaroos!]] The combination of ''Velociraptor''-like claws and guillotines proved an awesomely efficient killing arsenal. If not for the fact there were two larger, faster, equally well-armed reptilian predators-''Quinkana'', a terrestrial crocodile, and ''Megalania'', a giant lizard the size of a bison, it would have been the continent's unrivalled killer. All three predators, modern animals adapted to today's world, met an untimely end at the hands of humans, as they set fires to grow different plant species, which starved their prey to extinction. The same fate occurred to all species of marsupial wolves, the other main mammalian predators of prehistoric Australia other than the lion, whose only species survived in contemporary age (the famous "Tasmanian wolf" ''Thylacinus cynocephalus'', lit. "pouched dog with a dog-head"), has missed the chance to be observed by modern wildlife lovers only for a bunch of decades.

to:

* Modern Australia also was home to an unique animal which has no close modern relatives, with its contemporary the koala, wombat and the Diprotodonts being its closest relative: ''Thylacoleo'', (“pouched lion”) nicknamed the “marsupial lion”, with its species name, ''carnifex'', meaning [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "executioner"]]. It was so-called because its body shape, sharp claws, and short head remember modern big-cats; but unlike the latter, it had ''rodent-like incisors'' instead of the classic fangs, and guillotines instead of molars that it used to slice the neck of the prey to kill it instantly. Scientists once thought it was indeed vegetarian like a rodent; they now know it was predatory. Not only that, it could have been the most efficient mammalian predator ever. Despite being not bigger than a jaguar, some think it was able to kill [[BadAss even Diprotodonts and giant kangaroos!]] kangaroos! The combination of ''Velociraptor''-like claws and guillotines proved an awesomely efficient killing arsenal. If not for the fact there were two larger, faster, equally well-armed reptilian predators-''Quinkana'', a terrestrial crocodile, and ''Megalania'', a giant lizard the size of a bison, it would have been the continent's unrivalled killer. All three predators, modern animals adapted to today's world, met an untimely end at the hands of humans, as they set fires to grow different plant species, which starved their prey to extinction. The same fate occurred to all species of marsupial wolves, the other main mammalian predators of prehistoric Australia other than the lion, whose only species survived in contemporary age (the famous "Tasmanian wolf" ''Thylacinus cynocephalus'', lit. "pouched dog with a dog-head"), has missed the chance to be observed by modern wildlife lovers only for a bunch of decades.
10th Sep '16 10:44:20 AM Wooboo
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* A recent discovery (2008) made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is theorized to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales, though it is theorized that they had a wide and varied appetite. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, it's mostly speculation.

to:

* A recent discovery (2008) made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is theorized believed to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales, though it is theorized that whales. That said, they likely had a wide and varied appetite.appetite, as sperm whales do today. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' is known to have occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, at the time of writing it's mostly speculation. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, it's mostly speculation.
10th Sep '16 10:39:28 AM Wooboo
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* A recent discovery (2008) made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is theorized to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. It's also one of those prehistoric animals who's name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is named after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.

to:

* A recent discovery (2008) made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is theorized to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. It's whales, though it is theorized that they had a wide and varied appetite. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals who's whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is named coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.Moby-Dick]]''. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, it's mostly speculation.
23rd Jul '16 12:09:25 PM MrMediaGuy2
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* South America was isolated from other continents for most of the Mammal Age, and thus its fauna developed in its own direction. There were not only elephant-size sloths and tank-like glyptodonts: there were also less-armoured but still odd-looking "ungulates", not related with any modern animal today, but similar in shape/size to camels, horses, hippos, buffalos, elephants, rhinos, hyraxes, and even chalicotheres (a great example of convergent evolution). The two most represented are ''Macrauchenia'' and ''Toxodon''. ''Macrauchenia'' was a bit camel-like; often depicted with a floppy, elephantine nose because of the shape of its skull, but we don't know if it really had this thing. ''Toxodon'' was more like a stock-built, no-horned buffalo, but it has also been compared with a rhino or a hippo. These two guys lived during the Ice Ages in South American pampas, and were among the last members of their groups; but other relatives lived much earlier, always in South America.

to:

* South America was isolated from other continents for most of the Mammal Age, and thus its fauna developed in its own direction. There were not only elephant-size sloths and tank-like glyptodonts: there were also less-armoured but still odd-looking "ungulates", not related with any modern animal today, but similar in shape/size to camels, horses, hippos, buffalos, elephants, rhinos, hyraxes, and even chalicotheres (a great example of convergent evolution). The two most represented are ''Macrauchenia'' ''[[StockDinosaurs Macrauchenia]]'' and ''Toxodon''. ''Macrauchenia'' was a bit camel-like; often depicted with a floppy, elephantine nose because of the shape of its skull, but we don't know if it really had this thing. ''Toxodon'' was more like a stock-built, no-horned buffalo, but it has also been compared with a rhino or a hippo. These two guys lived during the Ice Ages in South American pampas, and were among the last members of their groups; but other relatives lived much earlier, always in South America.
10th Jul '16 7:06:31 PM MrMediaGuy2
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Added DiffLines:

Malagasy pseudo-apes: ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaladapis Megaladapis]]'' and ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeoindris Archaeoindris]]''

* The largest lemur alive in Madagascar today is the gibbon-sized and endangered indri. However, long ago, there were truly impressive forms. The most well known is the orangutan-sized ''Megaladapis'', also known as the koala lemur, notable for the shape of its skull, which most likely housed a bizarre trunk-like upper lip. There's also ''Archaeoindris'', which came from a long extinct group known as the sloth lemurs. Most sloth lemurs resembled modern tree sloths, but ''Archaeoindris'' was more similar to an extinct ground sloth. Larger than a gorilla, this is thought to be one of the largest primates, second only to ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Gigantopithecus]]''! Sadly, these and other similar creatures went extinct a mere 500 years ago when the first Malagasy settlers arrived in Madagascar.
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