PERIOD to PRESENT:
million years ago to present day
legends abound with "sea monsters" but the most far-fetched
imagination can't compare to the terrifying truth of what really lived in
the prehistoric seas as evidenced by numerous marine vertebrate fossils
discovered over the past years. Huge 50 foot sharks that had
teeth the size of
dinner plates and jaws in excess of 7 feet.
over 40 feet in length that possessed ferocious appetites and 6 foot
tooth-filled jaws. There were schools of fish larger than a
man that had sabre-toothed fangs longer than your index finger able to
pierce and devour anything that would get in their way. If I lived
in those days, I wouldn't even put a boat on the ocean! When
you start to envision the sizes of so many of these creatures it becomes
almost impossible to believe how terrifying the prehistoric oceans must
have been and just how dangerous it would have been to swim in them.
EVERYTHING seemed to have quite an abundance of LARGE teeth!
of these beasts have survived up to the last few hundred years? With
so many cultures scattered across the globe sharing their own versions of
tales of "sea monsters", one has to wonder what was the source
of these legends' origins?
According to scientific
terminology, these large dinosaur-like creatures that lived in the prehistoric seas are not
considered dinosaurs but are classified as "marine reptiles" and
therefore, are listed here in this section apart from the
first marine vertebrates are known from the fossil record dating back to
the Cambrian Period and the Cambrian Explosion. Here we have
jawless that were filter feeders, swimming amongst a plethora of more
numerous invertebrates. By the Ordovician Period, fishes with jaws
arrived on the scene and by the Devonian Period, nearly all jawless
fishes gave way to the rise of jawed fish. It is during the
Carboniferous Period that the first true amphibians appear in the fossil
record. By the Permian Period, amphibians rise in numbers with
some achieving great proportions to share the throne as apex predators
other aquatic vertebrates. Probably the most successful marine
vertebrates are sharks. Fossil shark scales dating back to the
Silurian Period, 420 million years ago, demonstrate just how old they
are. Their fossils show that they have remain relatively unchanged
for hundreds of millions of years to the present day.
this section we include not only large marine reptiles but a variety of
vertebrates. Sharks of all types along with skates and rays, fish, tortoises,
turtles and anything else that
possessed a spine and lived in an aquatic environment can be found below. While we
have labeled this category "marine" vertebrates, we also have
included many prehistoric creatures that had once lived in freshwater such
as amphibians and freshwater bony fish.
- copyright Paleo Direct, Inc. (art
by Frank Denota / Todd Marshall)
All images and text on this
site are protected and may not be used in any way.