Animals and humans have coexisted since our early ancestors first emerged almost 2 million years ago. Researchers have found artifacts from this period, such as stone tools at the Kanjera South archaeological site in Kenya, showing the first tangible evidence of ancient humans interact and hunt animals.
This symbiotic relationship between humans and animals is not surprising when domesticated pets like dogs and cats are common in the modern world. However, the animals that lived alongside ancient humans were less cute and cuddly and more ferocious and deadly. As humans evolved, they learned to protect themselves by hunting many of these animals that once lived with them.
What animals walked with ancient humans?
Here’s a look at some of the animals that walked alongside ancient humans and how these animals, which once ruled the world, were slowly hunted and turned into food, tools, clothing and even art.
1. Woolly mammoths
One of the most emblematic animals of the The Great Ice Age was the woolly mammoth, which roamed the cold tundras of Europe, Asia and America millions of years ago.
How big was the woolly mammoth?
This furry elephant-like creature weighed up to 13,000 pounds and stood 10 to 12 feet tall on average. Their dark brown coats and two nearly 14-foot-long tusks may have made these creatures appear threatening; However, they did not pose a threat, as they were herbivores that fed mainly on grasses and herbs.
How were woolly mammoths hunted?
So how did ancient humans coexist with this rather large creature? Recent evidence of mammoth bones spread across two traps in Mexico gives us a clue as to how human hunters brought down woolly mammoths.
Humans may have used these traps to separate mammoths from their herds, leaving them as easy prey. Additionally, large groups of human hunters used stone tools, branches, and even torches to capture and kill these animals. These enormous creatures were an ideal food source, and early humans used mammoth bones as tools, jewelry, and art.
When did the woolly mammoth become extinct?
Recent research revealed that woolly mammoths probably survived in North America until about 5,000 years ago. Although their population greatly declined more than 10,000 years ago due to melting icebergs and climate change. This, combined with human hunting, ultimately caused the extinction of these majestic animals.
Read more: Will woolly mammoths ever return?
2. Komodo Dragon
(Credit: Anna Kucherova/Shutterstock)
The largest lizard in the world barely looks like a lizard, hence its mystical name.
How big is a Komodo dragon?
With adult bodies reaching nearly 10 feet long and weighing up to 300 pounds, these giant reptiles have shared the earth with humans for more than a million years.
Where are Komodo dragons from?
The ancestors of Komodo dragons first appeared in Australia. They then slowly dispersed to the islands of Komodo and Flores in Indonesia, according to fossil finds published in a study by the Australian National University.
Humans and Komodo Dragons shared its habitat in Australia during the Great Ice Age, about 900,000 years ago. While humans were known to hunt various lizards, it is unclear whether they could conquer the Komodo dragon, which could have just as easily overpowered ancient humans.
What do Komodo dragons eat?
Komodo dragons are known to love to feast on meat, meaning they could have had a mutually beneficial relationship with ancient humans. Komodo dragons may have eaten the remains of an animal that humans hunted, and humans may have used the skin and bones of Komodo dragon prey as tools.
Do Komodo dragons still exist?
Although Komodo dragons still live today, researchers have put the lizard in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a threatened species. Its current endangered status is largely due to illegal hunting and habitat loss.
Read more: What is interesting about the Komodo dragon?
Along with woolly mammoths and giant sloths, ancient humans also lived among herbivorous, armadillo-like animals called glyptodonts. Glyptodont fossils place them in the swamps of North and South America 5 million years ago.
How big were glyptodonts?
Like other creatures on this list, glyptodonts were quite massive, with bodies exceeding 4,000 pounds and 10 feet long. The glyptodont also had a turtle-like shell, which helped protect its entire body from predators. However, despite their tough exterior, their fellow humans in the Americas need not fear these peaceful creatures.
When did glyptodonts become extinct?
The thick armor of glyptodonts made them quite useful to our ancestors. Because glyptodonts were not likely to defend themselves, it was easy for our human ancestors to kill them. The skulls of this giant armadillo found in northern Venezuela indicate that it may have suffered multiple blows to the head by ancient human hunters armed with tools such as stones and spears. While giant glyptodonts were driven to extinction, their modern armadillo relatives continue to live.
4. Saber-toothed cats
(Credit: AKKHARAT JARUSILAWONG/Shutterstock)
The saber-toothed cat evolved from a prehistoric family of carnivorous predators more than 50 million years ago. It’s easy to see why this sharp-toothed cat that survived on an all-meat diet was a major threat to our early ancestors.
How big was a saber-toothed tiger?
Weighing up to 750 pounds and growing to about 3 feet tall and 5.5 feet long, the saber-toothed cat, while still huge, may appear smaller than massive ancient animals like the woolly mammoth.
However, their sharp teeth and impressive jaws could grab and cut almost anything in their path, including humans that occupied the same land as these predators. 300,000 years ago. Our ancestors probably used spears and hunted these animals in groups to fight off these impressive predators.
When did the saber-toothed tiger become extinct?
While ambush attacks on their prey helped the deadly cat survive for years, they began to become extinct between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago. While the exact cause of its extinction remains a mystery, researchers have speculated that the saber-toothed cat became extinct because its large prey disappeared toward the end of the Great Ice Age and competed with ancient humans for food. food.
5. Giant sloth
(Credit: Aunt Spray/Shutterstock)
Yeah, Giant sloths are real, or at least they were.
When did the giant sloth live?
They lived between 1.8 million and 12,000 Years ago, during the Pleistocene epoch. They originated in South America and then came to North America during the Great Ice Age.
How big was the giant sloth?
While the slow-moving creatures may not seem that scary, they may have put up a good fight against our ancient human ancestors with their giant claws and the fact that they were 10 feet long and weighed, on average, about 2,200 pounds.
Recent fossil evidence demonstrates that ancient humans and sloths coexisted in South America. The fossils, between 16,000 and 27,000 years old, suggest that ancient humans living in South America hunted giant sloths and used their bones to make jewelry.
When did the giant sloth become extinct?
In fact, humans may have been responsible for the animal sloth’s eventual extinction. According to a study When examining the extinction of animals in South America during the Great Ice Age, human predation was likely a key factor in the decline of the giant slow sloth. Unfortunately, these wonderful creatures became extinct over 10,000 years ago, mainly due to habitat loss and hunting.