Some creatures appear out of place on first inspection. Sometimes this might be attributed to the limitations of imagination, but other times it's because the animal in issue is from such a remote past that it could have happened on another planet. The history of life on Earth predates the history of humans, and the number of animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago and continue to cohabit with us now may surprise you.
From the traditional crab suspects to charming and cuddly critters with a surprisingly profound history, these animals are far more hardy than you may imagine.
The ancient and scary frilled shark is at least 150 million years old, which means it lived in the waters while some of the Jurassic period's most renowned dinosaurs, such as the stegosaurus, were still roaming the Earth. Frilled sharks now live at the ocean's lowest depths, far from human activities.
The Komodo dragon of Indonesia is one of the most well-known remains of an old reptile Earth. They are now the biggest lizards on Earth and have existed for approximately four million years.
The shoebill stork is a massive bird with a distinctive appearance. The huge beaks of these birds allow them to pursue greater prey than most of their stork and waterbird cousins. Shoebill descendants are related to tyrannosaurus rex, although they diverged roughly 65 million years ago.
While there are only around 1,000 Bactrian camels remaining on Earth, they have proven to be one of the most hardy species during the last two million years. Bactrian camels can flourish in the toughest deserts and throughout the coldest winters.
Around 145 million years ago, during the Upper Jurassic era, the wobbegong shark first appeared. This indicates that they survived the major extinction catastrophe that took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, along with a large number of other aquatic forms of life. The wobbegong's skillful use of camouflage and elusive nature have allowed it to survive long into the current day without fear of extinction.
Chimeras, sometimes known as ghost sharks, are among the oldest fish species on the planet; they split off from real sharks around 400 million years ago. They are therefore at least as ancient as trees and forests. Chimaeras now stay in the deepest, murkiest waters of the sea.
Musk oxen are native to the higher parts of North America and date back about 200,000 years, making them almost as old as contemporary humans.
The characteristic that sets Babirusa apart from other pigs and animals in general is that their tusks, which are designed for defense and battle, will eventually grow backwards to the point where they pierce their own skulls and cause death. Some of the earliest cave paintings in Southeast Asia include pictures of Babirusas, which is amazing that an animal with such a bad design could survive for so long.
Although definitive and uncontested fossil data of the okapi's past are scarce, it is widely acknowledged that they are among the candidates for the distinction of being the planet's oldest big mammals. The okapi, often called a "zebra giraffe," is a native of Central Africa that has been on the planet for at least 18 million years.
Today, the ocean's depths are home to the earliest known multi-organ organisms. The oldest fossilized jellyfishes found date back more than 505 million years as of 2007. According to some experts, they could have lived as long as 700 million years ago.
“Prehistory of mankind is way too horrible to be remembered. But if we choose to ignore it, then we'll be doomed to repeat it.” ― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut