We all know that some of the biggest animals that have ever roamed the planet were dinosaurs. They arrived on the scene 235 million years ago and virtually ruled over the planet for 135 million years until they were wiped out 65 million years ago. They were extraordinary in every sense of the world and they amaze us, even to this day.
Archeologists and scientists still continue to make new discoveries, uncovering fossils and remains of already known dinosaurs and unearthing new species of dinosaurs we had no idea existed.
Archaeologists and scientists also uncover the fossils and remains of other animals that weren’t dinosaurs, but may have been just as big as them. Either during the time of the dinosaurs or sometime after the dinosaurs died out, massive creatures either swam through the ocean or they trod over the land, and they were some of the biggest creatures that the world has ever seen.
Many of the creatures on this list are from a prehistoric era, mainly due to the fact that animals aren’t as big in modern times as they were back then, and you’ll probably be amazed at how big some animals that exist today used to be. But make no mistake—dinosaurs still appear on the list. If I managed to pique your curiosity, then scroll down to see 15 of the biggest animals to have ever roamed the planet.
The Titanoboa is aptly named. It may be the smallest giant on this list in terms of weight, but it is definitely not the shortest. It’s the largest, biggest, and heaviest snake that’s ever existed. This massive snake weighed more than all modern-day snakes put together. It was 50 feet in length and weighed 2,500 pounds. The thickest part of its body averaged more than three feet. Scientists believe that during its heyday, the Titanoboa could have been the largest non-marine animal on the planet. It looked like a constrictor snake and acted much like one too, suffocating its prey with its large body since it wasn’t a venomous snake. The Titanoboa was undoubtedly a fearsome predator, lording over the waters and easily taking down any prey it wanted, even crocodiles. Yes: the Titanoboa could swallow a crocodile.
14. Syrian Camel
Imagine riding on something like this. The Syrian Camel was much bigger and heavier than its modern-day counterpart, on par with that of giraffes and elephants of today. It stood at about 13 feet and weighed in at 5,480 pounds. The Syrian Camel was a wild dromedary, so it wouldn’t have been trained to carry things, much less people. Actually, when archeologists first unearthed fossils of the extinct camel, they also unearthed humanoid bones near the site. Along with the humanoid bones were stone tools that contained camel foot bones, which means that humans actively hunted down Syrian Camels, probably to extinction. The Syrian Camel lived about 100,000 years ago, which is a relatively recent time in the field of archaeology, and archaeologists are extremely curious to know where this species came from and what happened to them.
If you’ve seen Jurassic World, then you’ve seen what a Mosasaurus looks like. This behemoth was the dinosaur seen leaping out of the water to the glee of spectators to catch its prey. The Mosasaurus was just as impressive in real life as it was in the movie. It boasted a length of anywhere between 50-60 feet and was more than 10,000 pounds in weight. Not only that, but it was pretty heavily built, making it look even more formidable. Its diet would include sharks and fish. Because a Mosasaurus was so huge, it would have been extremely difficult for a pregnant Mosasaurus to pull herself ashore to give birth, so she would have delivered her young underwater, like many other oceanic animals.
The Liopleurodon. 82 feet in length. 300,000 pounds in weight. Or at least that’s what scientists initially thought about the extinct marine reptile. Liopleurodon was originally thought to be the largest marine reptile—until later estimates on fossils found put the beast at much smaller proportions. The Liopleurodon was 30 feet in length and a full-grown adult would have weighed more like 20,000 pounds, not 300,000. But even though Liopleurodon wasn’t as large as previously believed, it was still the apex predator of the day. The massive reptile sat atop the food chain, feasting on unsuspecting fish, squid and smaller marine reptiles alike, thanks to being an unusually fast swimmer for a pliosaur and having a highly developed sense of smell that let it detect prey from a distance.
11. Sarcosuchus Imperator
Sarcosuchus imperator is its scientific name but its nickname is “Super Croc”, which makes a lot of sense considering that this extinct species was one of the largest crocodile species in history. From snout to tail it was 40 feet in length and weighed about 20,000 pounds. But due to lack of remains and other technicalities, it’s still uncertain whether the Sarcosuchus imperator is the biggest crocodile ever or if the Rhamphosuchus or Purussaurus take the crown. Regardless, modern-day crocodiles would have been no match for “Super Croc” in a fight. Even more impressive was how big “Super Croc” could be at full size. Scientists conducted studies on the growth rings found on the osteoderms of one Sarcosuchus’ remains and discovered that the crocodile wasn’t done growing, even though it was over 40 years old when it died.
While the African Elephant is the largest living land mammal right now, it would be easily dwarfed by the Paraceratherium had it lived millions of years ago. The Paraceratherium is the record-holder for being the largest land mammal that has ever existed. Estimates put the hornless rhinoceros at a height of a little over 24 feet and a weight of anywhere between 33,000 and 44,000 pounds. The creature was a herbivore who stretched out its long neck to reach the treetops so it could eat the leaves there. Judging from its massive size, the Paraceratherium definitely had to eat an abundance of vegetation every day to survive. But as grassland environments replaced the central Asian forests over time where the Paraceratherium lived and thrived, it was only a matter of time before the species went extinct.
9. Whale Shark
There’s a reason why the whale shark has the word “whale” in it. After all, it’s an aquatic creature of remarkable size. The whale shark is the largest living fish in the world and the largest living animal that isn’t a cetacean. It has a reported length of 36 feet and can weigh up to 41,000 pounds, but some can actually grow bigger than that. Yet despite the whale shark’s enormous size, which would allow it to easily rule over the seas and choose any prey it likes, the whale shark is instead a filter feeder. It feeds on plankton and any other small fish that just happen to get caught in its gaping, wide mouth. Whale sharks are actually pretty gentle creatures and some of them will give lucky swimmers a ride.
The whale shark may be the largest fish in the world today, but it’s not the largest fish in the history. That title belongs to the Leedsichthys. The Leedsicthys was once believed to have been a jaw-dropping 90 feet in length, but later estimates put it at 55 feet, which is still pretty remarkable. It weighed at 43,000 pounds, which made it just a ton bigger than the whale shark. Like the whale shark, the Leedsichthys was a filter-feeder whose diet consisted of plankton, tiny shrimp, and jellyfish. To feed, the creature would swim casually through the waters and ingest plenty of prey into its mouth and filter them through the giant mesh-plates located at the back of its mouth.
The Kronosaurus used to be known as the largest pliosaur to ever exist until it was knocked off its throne by the later discovery of the Pliosaurus. But the new find doesn’t make the Kronosaurus any less extraordinary. This particular species of pliosaur was 30-35 feet in length and weighed in at 30,000-40,000 pounds. The ancient creature was named after the Greek mythological figure Cronus, the King of the Titans who devoured his own children. As Kronosaurus was a frightening predator during its time, naming it after Cronus seems very fitting. The Kronosaurus roamed the deep waters, preying on fishes, squids, ichthyosaurs, and other pliosaurs. Scientists believe it was at the top of the food chain, and as a result would have no natural predators to worry about.
6. Palaeoloxodon Namadicus
The Paracerathium is probably lucky that the Palaeoloxodon namadicus, aka the Asian straight-tusked elephant, wasn’t any bigger than what it was. Otherwise, it would have lost its title as the largest land mammal in existence. Actually, the Palaeoloxodon namadicus may have been bigger. At the shoulder, this giant elephant was 16 feet tall and measured in at 48,000 pounds. With a size like that, the elephant would be about the same size as some dinosaurs. It’s hard to determine how large the elephant could grow to at full size due to inconclusive data gathered from a lack of fossils, but if the studies prove correct, this massive elephant could potentially overthrow the Paracerathium as the largest land mammal ever.
While the Liopleurodon is erroneously branded as the largest known marine reptile on many scientific news sites, the true champion is the Shastasaurus. It was over twice as long as the Liopleurodon at 68 feet and clocked in at 80,000 pounds; it was about the same size as a modern sperm whale. Because the reptile was so huge, it could plunge into the deep depths of the ocean. Its size also allowed it to take in a larger amount of air and stay down underwater more than a smaller ichthyosaur. The Shastasaurus had short and toothless jaws, which make scientists believe that the creature fed by opening his mouth wide and sucking anything within its path into his jaws like a vacuum.
The Megalodon holds the record for being the largest shark ever, as well as being one of the largest vertebrate predators ever. A Megalodon weighed 30 times more than a great white shark. The shark was 52 ft in length and was anywhere between 140,000 to 200,000 pounds. Shockingly, it could fit a modern-day rhinoceros in its jaws. Its teeth were between 3 and 5 inches in length, though some have been uncovered that were seven inches. The megalodon was at the top of the food chain during its day, so it would probably have eaten dolphins and whales. It’s a good thing the Megalodon went extinct 1.6 million years ago and you won’t find it lurking in the ocean somewhere. (However, there are some people who earnestly believe that the shark still exists somewhere in the deep ocean.)
If you’ve seen Jurassic Park 3, then you’ve seen the Spinosaurus before. And if you couldn’t already glean it from the movie, the Spinosaurus was huge, larger than a T-Rex. It was the largest carnivorous dinosaur in existence. It extended 60 feet in length and weighed 200,000 pounds. In fact, its head alone was six feet in length. And that spiky scales on its back? Those spikes stood seven feet in the air when the dinosaur arched its back. You might think that the largest carnivorous dinosaur would have feasted on large prey, but none of the Spinosaurus’ teeth were serrated, making it impossible for them to tear into anything too tough. Since the dinosaur could swim in the water, its diet most likely included various types of fish, such as sawfish and sharks, and carcasses.
The Argentinosaurus was not only the largest land animal that has ever existed, it was also the longest. It was easily the king of the sauropods. An adult had a height of 24 feet and could weigh up to 224,000 pounds. It’s probably safe to assume that carnivorous dinosaurs would steer clear of this behemoth. However, eggs were about the size of a coconut and only weighed five pounds, so young Argentinosauruses had plenty of growing to do during puberty and after puberty. It took 40 years for an Argentinosaurus to reach its full adult size. During that time, it would intake 100,000 calories worth of food a day. To put that into perspective for you, that would be like eating 50 chocolate cakes or 2,127 apples a day. Whoa.
1. Blue Whale
If you thought any of the other creatures on this list were massive, prepare to meet the largest of them all, not only today but in all of history: the blue whale. This aquatic animal surpasses all other creatures when it comes to size and length. Blue whales are generally anywhere from 70 to 90 feet long, but there are some cases of whales with a reported length of over 100 feet. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many of the larger whales swimming around in the waters nowadays due to whale hunters that intentionally hunt them down. A newborn whale starts out at a whopping 25 feet long and only grows more and more as it gets older. Considering how young blue whales can drink 100 gallons of milk a day, it’s no wonder how they get so big.