Prehistoric Creatures Represented As Memes Because Why Not?

I can haz cone shell?

Cambrian (541–485 million years ago)

Esben Horn / Alex Kasprak / BuzzFeed / Via

This doge-y looking arthropod ancestor is Anomalocaris.

Admittedly we are not working with a very deep bench here when it comes to cute Cambrian creatures, but just look at this fella! Sure, this proto-lobster was the apex predator of its day. Sure, some of them lived to be up to 6 feet in length. Sure, they crushed their soft-bodied prey with their gigantic forearms. But just look at those goofy eyes! Fun fact about these eyes: They are the earliest evidence of compound eyes and they suggest that this ancient beast actually had pretty acute vision.

Ordovician (485–443 million years ago)

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Meet Orthoceras. This lol-opod can haz all the cone shell it wants.

Not only did Orthoceras sport an adorable cone-shaped shell, it also dominated the Ordovician seas. This kind of creature is a cephalopod, and it is distantly related to things like the octopus and the nautilus.

Silurian (443–414 million years ago)

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Watch out for Eurypterus — the beast is looking pretty aggressive.

Despite all its rage, it is still an adorable sea scorpion trapped in the Silurian ocean cage! Later types of "sea scorpions" (an informal name for an order of animals called eurypterids) would actually inhabit freshwater, but not this fella — he's an OG sea scorpion. These guys ate whatever, but were likely primarily carnivores.

Devonian (419–359 million years ago)

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Acanthostega was wise enough to venture into new and uncharted terrestrial territory. Acanthostega is happy to give you all the advice you want.

This smiley amphibian is one of the first vertebrate creatures to have easily recognizable limbs. It is considered a perfect example of a transitional creature between fish and tetrapods (a massive group of creatures that includes amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). These things were pretty aquatic, but they did venture onto land for food sometimes. Some scientists think their fishy structure may have made it hard for them to eat land-food at first.

Carboniferous (359–299 million years ago)

Nobu Tamura (lizard) / Dodoni (insect) / Alex Kasprak / BuzzFeed / Via

This tiny terror is Petrolacosaurus — the ire of Carboniferous insects everywhere.

And just look at this little lizard! This cutie is one of the earliest diapsid reptiles. The diapsids are a huge group of reptiles that evolved to include crocodiles, lizards, snakes, birds, and dinosaurs. Another important thing about this friendly foe is that it is an early amniote — this means it can lay eggs without water. This skill made it even easier for reptiles to take over the land.

Permian (299–250 million years ago)

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This witty jokester is Biseridens.

Unlike our Carboniferous friend, this thing is a synapsid reptile. Though currently extinct, this group of reptiles (though not this specific critter) is ancestral to all mammals. Let's not forget, either, that this thing is also the most ancient anomodont known! Anomodonts were a super-weird group of mostly herbivorous reptiles. They were mostly toothless, but somehow they were the among the most successful group of herbivores toward the end of the Permian and into the early Triassic.

Triassic (250–201 million years ago)

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This dinosaur is named Coelophysis, and it is only pretending to answer the phone.

Coelophysis is one of the earliest known dinosaurs. Yeah, yeah, this creature is the ancestor of terrifying things like the tyrannosaur and megalosaur. But back in the Triassic, theropod dinosaurs like Coelophysis were tiny and cute. This dino got only as big as 9.8 feet in length. One point against this animal on the cuteness rankings is the fact that it was probably a bit of a cannibal.

Jurassic (201–145 million years ago)

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This is Leedsichthys — a big, derpy doof. It is true that the fish had no idea what it was doing, but it was pleasant enough to be around, anyway.

The only way the computer (above) is to scale is if the monitor is as tall as a human. That's because this fish might as well be a whale. It's the biggest fish ever found, living or extinct. The gentle giant grew to be up to 72 feet in length. For all of its size, though, it was but a humble planktivore, filtering tiny critters like shrimp and other marine organisms through its mouth for sustenance.

Cretaceous (145–66 million years ago)

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Steropodon was one of the earliest mammals. It possessed mammal things like hair and a neocortex (a part of the mammal brain that deals with sensory perception, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and language). It will not let you forget that it discovered those things before they went mainstream.

Steropodon is a goofy-looking platypus ancestor. It belongs to a group of creatures called monotremes, which are are mammals that lay eggs. The only ones that are still around today are platypuses and anteaters. This mammal is estimated to have been about the size of a cat. That may sound small, but it actually makes it one of the largest of its time period. Most Cretaceous mammals were tiny and nocturnal.

Paleogene (66–23 million years ago)

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This is Darwinius — an early primate. We don't know if it would have liked cupcakes, but this super-realistic reconstruction suggests it might.

Darwinius belongs to a group of extinct primates called adapiformes. Primates, an order of animals which we (and apes, monkeys, lemurs, etc.) belong to, first came along in the Paleogene. These adapiformes are among the earliest primates known, though their relationship to the rest of the living primates is uncertain. Some researchers believe that they are most closely related to lemurs.

Neogene (23–2.6 million years ago)

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Dromornis is an extinct flightless bird. It may not have been a drunk, but it sure looked like one.

This goofy freakin' thing lived in Australia until around 5 million years ago. It weighed in at over 1,000 pounds and stood nearly 10 feet high. Needless to say, flying was not an option for this hefty hulk. Many paleontologists believe Dromornis was an herbivore, but its large, powerful beak has convinced some that it might have been an omnivore or even a carnivore.

Quaternary (2.6 million years ago–present)


Here is Bubius minor.

Lil Bub is what those 541 million years of evolution were for.