THE new dinosaur film Jurassic World just broke box office records by becoming the fastest film to make US$1 billion - all in 13 days.
It ousted previous record holder, Fast And Furious 7, which took 17 days to rake in that much.
Perhaps not all surprising. Dinosaurs were really bad-ass creatures.
But it wasn’t alone. Over millions of years an amazing variety of mind-blowing creatures have inhabited Earth. Watching the Jurassic World movie, it is hard to conceive that these animals lived and prospered where we now walk and exist.
Here’s a brief reminder of some of the most incredible extinct animals from Africa that deserve a movie of their own:
Koala Lemur, (or Megaladapis)
The koala lemur is one of the best known of the giant lemurs, and had a skull the size of a gorilla’s, the largest measured between 1.3 to 1.5 m. It was a squat-bodied vertical clinger and may have superficially resembled a giant koala in the way it moved. Its eyes were on the sides of its skull, instead of forward on the skull like all other primates, and its long canine teeth formed a longer tapering snout. Its jaw muscles were powerful for chewing the tough native vegetation.The koala lemur went extinct as a result of over-hunting and habitat destruction by the people who first colonised Madagascar from the mainland.
(Megaladapis edwardsi Life restoration based on photos of skeletal remains and supported with correspondence with Dr. Laurie Godfrey)
This saber-toothed cat, used to roam large parts of the world before first becoming extinct in Africa about 1.5 million years ago. It reached 1.1 m at the shoulder and weighed an estimated 150–225 kg, making it close to the same size as the male African lion. The oddest feature of Homotherium was its long front limbs and squat hind limbs, meaning this prehistoric cat was shaped more like a modern hyena.
(Photo: Entrance to the Yukon Beringia Center)
Elephant Bird, extinct 17th century
Madagascar’s giant, flightless elephant bird was the heaviest bird ever to have lived, standing 3 metres tall and weighing approximately 500kg. Related to ostriches and emus, though it was unlikely to have been a swift runner. It had massive legs and taloned claws, vestigial wings and a long, powerful neck. Its body was covered in bristling, hair-like feathers, like those of the emu, and its beak resembled a broad-headed spear.
They were once a common sight on the island, certainly up until the 17th century. It is generally believed that the elephant bird’s extinction resulted from human activity.
(Photo: Selbe, Islands of Evolution, California Academy)
This animal is part of a group which gave rise to the modern elephant and used to roam parts of Africa, North America and Asia. Measuring about 3 metres long and 2-3 metres at the shoulder this animal had two pairs of tusks, one in the upper and the other in the lower jaw. The lower pair of tusks were shaped to form a shovel-like structure that pointed forwards from the lower jaw. It is widely believed that these tusks were feeding adaptations that allowed them to uproot plants and scrape off tree bark.
They became extinct approximately 6 million years ago. Its conjured this may be due to the fact that there were extended periods of dry weather which may have eliminated its grazing grounds.
(Photo: Restored herd of Amebelodon, from the Time-Life book “North America”)
The 2 metre tall, 500kg, Ancylotherium appeared in Africa a little more than 3 million years ago. It had short back legs and longer front legs, enabling it to feed easier on bushes and trees of prehistoric East Africa, where it lived.
(Photo: Walking with Beasts, Wikia)
The Afrovenator was a bipedal, meat-eating, three-fingered, stiff-tailed predator that had 2-inch-long blade-like teeth. Judging from the one skeleton known, this dinosaur was approximately 7-8 metres long, from snout to tail tip, and had a weight of up to one tonne.
This crocodile mimic of a dinosaur had a long skull, jaws adapted for hunting fish, a distinctive sail on its lower back and the huge, foot-long claws on each thumb. It was a biped, was about 11 metres long and weighed about 3,000kg.
(Restoration by [email protected])
Not too much is known about, is this moderately sized bi-pedal carnivore. The few remains that were found of the dinosaur were discovered in North Africa which is why it was called “Berberosaurus”, meaning “berber lizard”, a reference to the Berber people who are scattered in communities across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger and Mauritania.
(Photo: By karkemish00, Digital Art)
This medium-sized bipedal carnivore had a skull that was quite large in proportion to the rest of its body. It had a large nasal and brow horns and possessed a prominent nose horn formed from protuberances of the nasal bones. It also had smaller hornlike ridges in front of each eye.
(Reconstruction by Bogdanov [email protected])
One of the largest creatures to ever walk the earth, this four-legged, plant-eating dinosaur had a long neck and tail and relatively small brain. A subadult individual was believed to be between 21.8–22.5 metres in length with a mass estimate which varied between 15 tonnes to as much as 78 tonnes.
(Restoration by Dmitry Bogdanov)