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Top 10 Prehistoric Animals Alive Today

Ricky Rodson is an experienced cryptozoologist with several published books on the subjects of zoology, cryptozoology, and mythical beasts.

Top 10 Prehistoric Animals That Are Still Alive

Most people wouldn't believe you if you told them there are still animals alive today they were also around during the time of the dinosaurs. A lot of them would think you were crazy, but it is true and there are even more of them than you would think. These creatures are commonly referred to as "living fossils" because all of their relatives are fossils, that's how old they are. This list doesn't have all the prehistoric animals still alive today, but it does have the ten coolest and that's more than enough for us. The prehistoric animals we have chosen for our list includes:

1. The Chinese Giant Salamander

2. Goblin Shark

3. Frilled Shark

4. Alligator Snapping Turtle

5. Platypus

6. Alligator Gar

7. Crocodilians

8. Hula Painted Frog

9. Pygmy Right Whale

10. Lamprey

Picture Of A Giant Salamander

Picture Of A Giant Salamander

1. Chinese Giant Salamander

The Chinese Giant Salamander is a slimy creature found in clear water lakes and rocky streams of central and southern China. It may look like an ordinary overgrown salamander but this big fella is actually classified as a 'living fossil' which means it's closest relative is a fossil and it has no living relative. These massive amphibians are able to grow up to 110 pounds in weight making them the largest amphibian on the planet. Because of its poor eyesight caused by its lidless eyes, this prehistoric salamander must rely on special sensory nodes to feed on insects, frogs, crabs, and fish they come close to it.

Picture Of A Goblin Shark

Picture Of A Goblin Shark

2. Goblin Shark

The Goblin Shark, or better known as the "living fossil", is rare and scary looking species of deep-sea shark that is part of a family known to be over 125 million years old. Goblin sharks typically lurk around in seamounts and submarine canyons all over the world but can be found anywhere as long as the water has depths greater than 330 feet. Due to the lack of light reaching the low depths in which Goblin Sharks live, they have pink skin due making them look extra gnarly. If only to amplify their scary looks, these fish also have a long spike in place of their nose and an elongated snout with large nail-like teeth. Typically they able to grow between 9 and 12 feet in size but have also been known to grow significantly larger.

Video Of A Goblin Shark

Picture Of A Frilled Shark

Picture Of A Frilled Shark

3. Frilled Shark

The Frilled Shark is another scary-looking marine animal that has been around for over 95 million years making it the oldest of the still-extant shark lineages. This prehistoric shark is dark brown in color and has an elongated eel-like body with large flexible jaws that allow for it to swallow prey whole like a snake. It also has 50 to 60 needle-like teeth that are used to hold its meal steady and preventing it from escaping. These sharks are known to live throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at depths from anywhere of 160 to 660 feet. This monster has barely changed since when it would hunt dinosaurs and is nothing to be toyed with.

Picture Of An Alligator Snapping Turtle

Picture Of An Alligator Snapping Turtle

4. Alligator Snapping Turtle

Alligator Snapping Turtles are not directly related to an alligator but are merely named so because they have extremely powerful snapping jaws and the distinct ridges on their shell appear similar to the rough skin of an alligator. They are the heaviest freshwater turtle in the world weighing up to 300 pounds and are able to live for upwards of 200 years. Because of their slow speed, these turtles are opportunistic carnivorous eaters and attack anything stupid enough to enter into their range of attack, large or small. These tough turtles have even been known to eat small alligators when given the chance.

Picture of a Platypus

Picture of a Platypus

5. Platypus

Technically the oldest known fossil of a modern platypus only dates back to the Quaternary period which was about 100,000 years ago, but close relatives of the animal have been dated back to over 100 million years. These cute little critters are known for being one of the strangest mammals on the planet because of their weird bill shaped mouths, their ability to lay eggs, and their ability to emit poison from the back of its feet. Currently, they are found only on the continent of Australia and any attempts to move them have resulted in the animals dying in less than a few years.

Picture Of A Alligator Gar

Picture Of A Alligator Gar

6. Alligator Gar

Alligator Gar's are some of the coolest prehistoric animals still alive today whose fossil record traces back over a hundred million years to the Early Cretaceous period. They are the largest freshwater fishes in North America. Alligator Gar can be found anywhere from freshwater lakes and swamps to brackish marshes, estuaries, and bays because they possess the amazing ability to adapt to varying saltine levels. Their appearance looks like a strange cross breed with a fish-like body and a snout of an alligator with large sharp rows of teeth.

Picture Of A Crocodillian

Picture Of A Crocodillian

7. Crocodilians

Crocodilians first came on the scene during the Late Cretaceous period about 83.5 million years ago and are surprisingly enough the closet living relative to birds. They can be easily identified by their long flattened snouts, reptilian skin, and placement of their eyes, ears, and nostrils on the top of the head. These beast are able to walk quickly on land and swim even faster when in the water. They take down their prey by snapping into them with a powerful bite and 'barrel-rolling' (a full-body spin) while pulling the victim into the water and drowning it. Most people can already tell that Crocodilians are really old creatures because they already look like dinosaurs.

Picture Of A Hula Painted Frog

Picture Of A Hula Painted Frog

8. Hula Painted Frog

The Hula Painted Frog is an amphibian that was thought to be extinct up until 2011 due to its habitat being destroyed when Israel began draining the Lake Hula Marshes. Not much is know about this type of frog because only several have ever been found, and once in captivity the larger frog began to devour all the smaller ones. They have dark brown bellies with white spots and gradients of dark olive green to greyish-black on the sides of its body.

Picture Of A Pygmy Right Whale

Picture Of A Pygmy Right Whale

9. Pygmy Right Whale

Pygmy Right Whales are a shade of gray on the upper side of their body that darkens as the animal gets older and a white on the bottom. They grow to about 20 feet on average and their diet mainly consists of eating copepods. Pygmies are only found in the cold waters of the southern hemisphere and have been spotted along the coasts of New Zealand, South Australia, South Africa, and even some areas as far south as Antarctica. What makes them even more interesting is despite their large size they were thought to be extinct until 2012, remaining out of sight of human eyes.

Picture Of A Lamprey

Picture Of A Lamprey

10. Lamprey

Lampreys are one of the oldest living creatures alive being more than 360 million years old. These things are disgustingly giant worms that are filled with teeth and found in shallow coastlines and freshwater lakes around the world. These horrible things attach to the side of it's victim like a leech and use its large teeth to chew away until it is able to suck out the creature's insides like goo. These are known as a missing link but I personally don't think I will be swimming any time soon.

Video of a Lamprey Feeding

© 2015 Ricky Rodson