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This is a very large group and the bizarre mammals below are certainly not an exaustive list of strange ones to choose from. The content on this page includes three of my favorite strange mammals and they certainly should not disappoint. Humans are of course part of this group as well and maybe that is why we generally feel more akin to others of this group Here is a thought, maybe humans should have a spot here because are we not the strangest mammal of them all sometimes? Civet cats are feline-like animals that are able to spray predators like a skunk when threatened.

Even though they have the cat-like appearence Linsangs are not cats, which are in the family Felidae. In contrast to his earlier posted, cats hunt as a group, and appear to have a better chance of winning. So do the hyenas. As Waterhouse Hawkins aged, his paleoart showed scenes that were more confrontational.


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Maybe the darker mood in his art was the consequence of his conflicts with Boss Tweed in New York City, or his messy personal life. These ground sloths are pretty accurate anatomically, though a little less stately than the Megatherium he designed for Crystal Palace Park. One of the sloths lays a hand on a passing Glyptodon , for reasons that aren't entirely clear. In this painting, titled Tertiary Mammals of Europe , prehistoric animals congregate in a small area for the convenience of the viewer. In the background, they march single file so that each individual presents a good profile.

In the foreground visible in the expanded image , a pair of proboscideans dismantles palm trees. Year: Scientist: Rembrandt Peale Artist: Alexander Anderson Originally published in: Mammoth of New York exhibition announcement Now appears in: American Monster by Paul Semonin It looks like early American scientists had a little trouble figuring out just where to put the tusks, though this rendering may have more to do with the artist's faulty memory than the articulator's bad judgment.

Peale turned the tusks upside down, however, in later articulations. He gave considerable thought to how a carnivorous animal — that would need to tear apart its prey, and also dig up tasty shellfish hors d'oeuvres — would need backwards-facing tusks well-suited to those tasks. He apparently didn't give as much thought to how such a creature would walk without injuring its front legs on its own tusks. This picture shows the articulated skeleton of a "Young Mammouth" actually a mastodon with a grown man under the belly to give an idea of the beast's size.

Before the discovery of recognized dinosaurs, the tusked creatures satisfied the public's appetite for ancient monsters. This ancient monster would have needed a mighty tough pair of front legs. Over the next century, a much clearer picture of the mammoth emerged from the mists of deep time. The caption identified it as Elephas primigenius, part of the elephant family. After the species was originally designated by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, it was reclassified as Mammuthus primigenius.

Year: Scientist: Mikhail Ivanovich Adams Artist: Roman Boltunov Now appears in: Fossil Revolution by Douglas Palmer and Wikipedia By the time naturalists realized that wooly mammoths had once roamed the Siberian steppes, local people had long traded fossil ivory. Around the turn of the 19th century, a Siberian chief named Ossip Shumakov found two beautiful ivory tusks still attached to a relatively intact animal.

Besides the skeleton and tusks, this mammoth still had much of its soft tissue. Shumakov told an ivory dealer, Roman Boltunov, who sketched the animal before taking the tusks. Not long afterwards, a naturalist, Mikhail Ivanovich Adams, visited the site.

22 Strange Animals You Probably Didn’t Know Exist

Scavengers and human hunters largely de-fleshed the proboscidean before Adams examined it, and if this image is any indication, the trunk was gone by the time Boltunov produced his sketch. But along with other parts of the animal, including nearly 40 pounds of wooly hair, Adams managed to recover an ear.


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  • Aside from the missing trunk, the tiny ears high on the head are perhaps the most jarring aspect of this sketch. Compared to modern elephants, mammoths had small ears, needing to conserve rather than radiate heat, but they weren't as tiny as this sketch implies.

    Western Long-beaked Echidna

    It's possible that scavengers had already nibbled the ears by the time Boltunov saw the mammoth. It's possible that the frigid conditions that preserved so much of the animal also distorted some appendages. And it's possible that, in making a hasty sketch of an extinct animal, Boltunov simply messed up a few details.

    Overall, the sketch is very good. This image, available via Wikipedia, also bears notes written by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. Boltunov contributed more than a sketch to our understanding of this animal; he sold the tusks he had collected to Adams. Adams shipped the tusks and other pieces of the animal he was able to collect to St.

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    Petersburg, where he made a living teaching botany. He published four installments of Strata Identified by Organized Fossils until financial troubles forced him to stop. Like his map, the publications were of excellent quality. He employed the talented naturalist James Sowerby to do the engravings, and printed the engravings in paper colored to match the color coding he used in his map.

    As the frontispiece, he featured a mastodon tooth, but he didn't know how to identify it. Smith described it as the tooth of "some extinct monstrous unknown animal found in Norfolk. This picture comparing embryos was intended to support that view. In early stages, vertebrate embryos look similar, but not nearly so similar as Haeckel claimed.

    In the first edition of one of Haeckel's books, an identical woodcut was accidentally duplicated for three different types of embryos, a blunder that dogged Haeckel for years. Though embryologists recognized problems with this depiction when it was published, and Darwinian evolutionists abandoned the ontogeny-phylogeny link early in the 20th century, Haeckel's drawings still managed to populate many biology textbooks.

    Richards Haeckel came under fire for this embryo comparison, for excluding the limb buds of the echidna embryo. Nevertheless, this depiction was a substantial improvement over versions that had appeared in earlier works. As graphic techniques improved, so did the embryo renditions. Richards Also discussed in God — or Gorilla: Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age by Constance Areson Clark Another way in which Haeckel gave 20th-century paleontologists and evolutionary biologists heartburn was by publishing this tree of the ancestry of humans.

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    The thick trunk culminating in the human species suggests that evolution's only aim was in making us. In fact, this was one of many diagrams Haeckel published, and his view of evolution was much less anthropocentric than this diagram implied. The largest animal to the left is a Uintatherium. The velvet antlers are a mistaken addition, but the many bony protrusions, surprisingly, are not.

    Describing the figure, he wrote, "Fig. Few modern paleontologists would argue, though, with his description of Uintatherium giganteum as showing "a strange assemblage of characters. In these depictions, the sail itself is missing, and only the supporting spines appear, but it's impossible to dislike a picture in such pretty pastels. In the early 20th century, Harder produced sketches and watercolors as part of his original plans for the Berlin Aquarium, an Art Nouveau building that opened in The original structure might have survived had it not been for World War II, but the Allied bombing of Berlin in destroyed the building.

    In the s, some of Harder's original plans came to light including this sketch top. A director of the rebuilt aquarium undertook a campaign to recreate the original murals, appealing to the public for any old pictures or postcards that might help. In , the recreated murals were unveiled, including this cheerful-pastel mural bottom. It preserved Harder's mistake of omitting the sail's soft tissue.

    More than one name has been applied to this species, so while Harder thought of it as Naosaurus when working on his original watercolor, the label at the Berlin Aquarium now designates it as Edaphosaurus Larger image available. Year: Scientist: E. Trying to best each other in naming new fossil species, the paleontologists named extinct mammals, too, sometimes naming the same species multiple times.

    When an extinct animal was adorned with puzzling protrusions, the problem of competing names worsened, especially if names were based on partial finds preserving different parts of the body.

    Attenborough’s Long-beaked Echidna

    Reconstructing the extinct animals could be as difficult as naming them appropriately. Loxolophodon cornutus was the species name Cope applied to this animal, which is now known as Eobasileus cornutus. Related to the equally bizarre Uintatherium , this prehistoric mammal bore illogical skull extensions.

    In this case, the antlers were actually correct, but the elephant-style trunks and ears were abandoned by later paleontologists. Cook This "tiger" was based on an earlier, slightly more accurate drawing of the real beast.


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    • In making the woodcut, the artist Piso employed put the tiger's stripes into the shadows of the animal's muscles. In the original drawing, the tiger's head didn't quite match the shape of the real cat's, but this woodcut changed the shape even more. This zebra appears equally surprised, and looks reproachfully at the reader, as if to ask who played the prank of striping his coat.