Posts Tagged ‘Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis’

6 Scariest Species to have Ever Lived in Georgia

October 30, 2016

6. The Hell Pigs

Vicious entelodonts lived on earth from the late Eocene to the mid Miocene (for over 20 million years).  They were 4 feet tall and reached weights of 930 pounds.

Entelodonts are known as hell pigs because their fossil remains represent a once terrifying animal that resembled a giant pig.  They occurred across most of the Northern Hemisphere, and there were many species over time.  Entelodonts existed between 37.2 million years BP-16.3 million years BP.  Although they resembled pigs, anatomical evidence suggests they were more closely related to the common ancestor of hippos and whales.  Enteledonts were 4 feet tall and weighed up to 930 pounds.  They were fast runners, and paleontologists believe they rammed into their prey, knocking their victims down and biting them until their bones were broken, probably similar to the way hippos kill humans in Africa today.  Fossil evidence of enteledonts has been found in Twiggs and Houston Counties in Georgia.  The tooth found in Houston County compares favorably with Archaeotherium, a once widespread species of enteledont.


Entelodont tooth found in Bonaire, Georgia.  I am not the author who took a photo of this tooth. This photo was made by Thomas Thurman and it’s from his website.

4. (tie) The Giant Short-faced Bear (Arctodus simus) and the Saber-toothed Cat (Smilodon fatalis)

I can’t decide which 1 of these was more frightening.  Giant short-faced bears were on average as large as Kodiak bears–the largest subspecies of brown bear ( Ursus arctos ).  However, they probably made a lot of noise and could be easily detected and avoided.  Saber-tooths were ambush predators and could sneak up on prey in the dark or in thickly vegetated habitat.  Arctodus was much larger, weighing about 1000 pounds compared to ~350 pounds for Smilodon.  But the latter was very powerful and sported fangs.  Fossil evidence of this big cat has been found in all of the states bordering Georgia.  Fossil evidence of Arctodus has turned up in an Alabama county adjacent to Georgia as well as several sites in Florida.  Both undoubtedly once ranged into Georgia.

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Giant short-faced bear and saber-toothed catThe illustration of this saber-tooth is inaccurate.  Smilodon had a bob-tail and their forelimbs were much more powerfully built than depicted here.

3. Appalachiosaurus


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Appalachiosaurus terrorized upstate Georgia during the late Cretaceous.

Appalachiosaurus was a species of tyrannosaur that lived on the eastern side of the Western Interior Seaway during the late Cretaceous (~80 million years BP-65 million years BP).  They were the top land predator, probably hunting hadrosaurs or anything else they could catch.  Fossil evidence of this species has been excavated from Hannahatchee Creek near Columbus, Georgia.  The type specimen, a nearly complete skeleton, was found in Alabama.

2. Deinosuchus rugosus

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Evidence suggests Deinosuchus rugosus ate tyrannosaurs.

This extinct crocodylian, a relative of alligator ancestors, grew to an estimated 36 feet long and weighed up to 17,000 pounds.  They were large and powerful enough to seize and drag a tyrannosaur into the water, and there is some fossil evidence they preyed upon them.  They likely ate dinosaurs as a significant part of their diet.  Fossil evidence of this species has also been found in Hannahatchee Creek as well as the Chattahoochee River in Georgia.

1. Man (Homo sapiens)

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Homo sapiens is clearly the scariest species to have ever walked on earth.  Here is a photo of an atomic bomb mushroom cloud.  Humans can wipe out entire cities with nuclear weapons.

Human beings construct weapons of mass destruction capable of turning livable habitat into uninhabitable wasteland.  I can’t think of anything scarier than that.


Cretaceous Dinosaur Fossils Discovered in Georgia and Alabama

February 4, 2011

A fiery extraterrestrial object cooked the atmosphere and caused the extinction of all vertebrates not in the safety of water or in underground burrows 65.5 million years ago.  This event ended the reign of the dinosaurs which had been the dominant large animals for 140 million years and probably would still be today, if not for the evolutionary altering armageddon.  During this 140 million year period, thousands of species of dinosaurs evolved, became extinct, and were replaced with other dinosaur species.  Most of the evidence has vanished, destroyed by earth’s tectonic forces.  Evidence of Jurassic and Triassic age dinosaurs is absent in southeastern North America.  Though there are Jurassic outcroppings in the piedmont region of Georgia, none are fossiliferous.  However, a small piece of the state does yield Cretaceous age dinosaur fossils.  Dr. David Schwimmer, a geologist teaching at Columbus State, combed Hannahatchee Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River, and in 1979 discovered a number of dinosaur fossils–a first for Georgia.  He’s returned to this site numerous times, and he frequently discovers disarticulated dinosaur remains though fossil shark teeth, fish bones, and turtle shells are far more common.  Hannahatchee Creek cuts through a Cretaceous lag deposit.  A lag deposit forms when an impediment on the ocean bottom collects bones drifting with the tides and currents.  Fossils accumulate in this same place and are cemented together.  The creek has since eroded through the deposit. Cretaceous Georgia was much different than modern Georgia.  Half of what’s now the state was under a shallow sea, south along a line from Augusta to Macon to Columbus.  A vast saltmarsh existed adjacent to the coast.  Inland habitats consisted of deep swamp with a few high and dry pine forests.  Grass had not evolved yet.  The climate was like a muggy July heat wave…year round.  There was no change of seasons. The following is a list of species that have left fossil evidence in Georgia and Alabama. Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis

Fossil replica of the Appalachian tyrannosaur, one of at least two species of tyrannosaur that lived on the Appalachian side of North America. I photographed this replica at the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

It’s likely there was at least one other tyrannosaur on the Appalachian side of North America which was then split into three continents separated by a vast inland sea.  Neither grew as big as Tyrannosaurus Rex which lived on the western part of North America.  Along the coast of Appalachia, tyrannosaurs were not top predators–the giant crocodylian, Deinosuchus was.

This and the next two images are from  “A New Genus of Tyrannosauroid from the late Cretaceous (Middle Campanian) Demopolis Formations of Alabama” by Thomas Carr, Thomas Williamson, and David Schwimmer, JVP 25 (1) pp. 119-143 March 2005.  This illustration show which parts of the specimen were recovered.

Photos of actual Appalachiosaurus skull bones found in Alabama.

Illustrations comparing different species of tyrannosaur.  One of the ways to determine the anatomical difference between species of tyrannosaur is to compare the maxillary finestra.  This is a hole in the skull of tyrannosaurs found below the eye socket.  This hole is of a different size and shape in different species of tyrannosaurs.

Velociraptor sp.

Most velociraptors probably had feathers or protofeathers.  Most scientists believe they’re ancestral to birds. Illustration from google images.

Only one tooth of a velociraptor has ever been discovered on the Appalachian side of North America.  Nevertheless, they probably were common.  They’re almost invisible in the fossil record of eastern North America because they lived in upland habitats where the processes of fossilization were rare. Hadrosauridae

Parasaurolophus, 'beside Saurolophus,' a late Cretaceous herbivore with a hollow crest extending from the back of its skull.

Illustration from google images. Large herds of this communally nesting dinosaurs roamed Georgia.  These herbivorous giants ecologically replaced the famous sauropods.  They were able to chew their food–a big evolutionary advance.


Though they were birdlike, this is not the line considered ancestral to birds.


These vegetarians must have been tough nuts for predators to crack.


Most pterosaurs probably had feathers or protofeathers.  A recent study suggests they took a couple hops and used all 4 limbs to leap into the air commencing flight, a method unlike any flying animal existing today.  Pterosaurs weren’t dinosaurs but rather flying reptiles.  Most probably ate fish.

References Carr, Thomas; Thomas Williamson, and David Schwimmer “A New Genus of Tyrannosauroid from the Late Cretaceous (Middle Campanian) Demopolis Formation of Alabama” Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25 (1) 118-143 March 2005