From car-sized armored creatures to giant marsupials, here are 8 massive megafauna that once roamed the Earth. Number 8: The Glyptodon Imagine a creature with a thick armored skin that’s a roughly the same size and weight as a Volkswagen Beetle. That’s how you get the Glyptodon, a prehistoric relative of the armadillo. The body of a Glyptodon is covered by a protective shell, made up of over 1,000 bony plates, called osteoderms. It also had a bony cap atop its skull, and even its tail featured some hardened dermal rings.Their tails were strong and flexible appendages which Glyptodons would swing with great power. They used their tail strikes for defense, but the main purpose was intraspecific combat. Zoologists calculated that the force of a Glyptodon’s tail strike would have been able to break the shell. There’s some suspicion that human hunters, which were targeting the Glyptodon for its meat or to use its carapace as shelter, may have contributed to its extinction, during the Pleistocene era. Number 7: The Gigantopithecus This creature’s name translates to “giant ape,” and according to fossil records, it was the largest primate species in existence.At its upper estimates, the Gigantopithecus blacki was close to ten feet tall and weighed almost four times more than a present day gorilla. Not much is known about its appearance, as much of the information about the species comes from fossil teeth and mandibles found in caves in Vietnam and South China. It probably walked on hands and feet, like a gorilla, and it most likely resembled a giant version of the orangutan. It went extinct about 100,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene era. Quiz Question Before we continue, answer this quiz question. Which species is believed to have contributed to the extinction of the Gigantopithecus? Was it: The Smilodon Homo Erectus The Mastodon The Canis Dirus Let us know what you think the right answer is in the comments section below, and stay tuned to find out the right answer. Number 6: Megatherium Today, the sloth looks like a languorous, laid-back creature. Its appearance and size are a far cry from that of one of its prehistoric relatives. Megatherium, also known as the giant ground sloth, was among the largest land animals of its era.It weighed around 4 tons (or 8,000 pounds) and measured up to 20 feet long. Unlike the present-day sloth species, which are mainly arboreal, Megatherium was a ground dweller. It had an herbivorous diet and would support its weight on its strong hind legs whenever reaching for leaves. It also had long, curved claws on its forelegs, which it used to pull down branches. Megatherium was endemic to South America as recently as 10,000 years ago, meaning that it coexisted with humans. Number 5: Mammuthus Mammoths were part of the Elephantidiae family; large terrestrial creatures equipped with trunks and teeth modified into tusks. Only two members of this family are alive today, the African elephant and the Asiatic elephant. Most people associate the word “mammoth” with the wooly mammoth, but that’s actually the last species to emerge. The oldest representative of the Mammuthus genus appeared around 5 million years ago in South Africa. In their evolutionary range, most mammoth species were smaller than the African elephant. The woolly mammoth was roughly the same size.However, earlier species were bigger, such as Mammuthus meriodinalis or Mammuthus trogontherii, as was the Colombian mammoth, a wooly mammoth contemporary. Nevertheless, the wooly mammoth is the best understood of them all, largely due to frozen carcasses found in the Siberian and Alaskan permafrost. It was also depicted in a number of prehistoric cave paintings. This creature was well-adapted for the cold of the last ice age, as most of its body was covered in thick fur. Early humans hunted woolly mammoths for food and used their bones and tusks to make tools, art, or dwellings.A combination of climate change and overhunting eventually led to the disappearance of wooly mammoths from the mainland. The last isolated population died out on Russia’s Wrangel Island about 4,000 years ago. This means that there were still mammoths roaming the Earth during the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza in ancient Egypt. Number 4: Theropods The strongest, deadliest and most terrifying land carnivores in existence were the largest theropod species. These were the big-four: the Tyrannosaurus, the Gigantosaurus, the Spinosaurus and the Carcharodontosaurus. Nobody knows for sure why these animals grew so much larger than the land predators before or after them. They were characterized by large, muscular tails which would balance their immense skulls. Their forelimbs were proportionately short but unusually powerful for their size. When compared to the other three theropod giants, the skull of the Spinosaurus was more similar to that of a crocodilian.The Spinosaurus also had a distinctive “sail” made up of neural spines protruding from its vertebrae. The most popular and best-represented theropod was the Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s believed to have owned the strongest bite of all terrestrial creatures and was the undisputed apex predator prior to the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. Like the other three theropod giants, it could exceed 40 feet long, 12 feet high at the hips and a weighed around 30,000 pounds! The common traits that most theropods share, including the prehistoric big-four, are hollow bones and three-toed limbs. Interestingly enough, the largest surviving theropod is the common ostrich, a giant in its own right as the world’s largest bird. Quiz Answer So, what species is believed to have contributed to the giant ape’s extinction? If you guessed b, Homo erectus, then you’re right. Based on fossil evidence, the two species seem to have coexisted at one time. Then, towards the end of the Ice Age, the climate was changing from forest to savanna. This meant that bamboo, the ape’s favorite food, was becoming scarce. Competition for food with Homo erectus, and possibly even predation by it, might have contributed to its extinction.Number 3: The Paraceratherium This massive hornless rhinoceros lived 34 to 23 million years ago, from the early to late Oligocene epoch. It’s believed to be among the largest terrestrial mammals ever known. Estimates for its size and appearance mostly come from incomplete fossils. But at its the upper limits, it weighed between 15 to 20 tons. That’s almost twice the weight of an African elephant! It also stood at roughly 15.7 feet tall and its limbs were longer and more robust than those of present-day rhinos. The Paraceratherium had a long neck, anchored by strong muscles which supported its massive, 4-foot-long head. Its forehead was smooth and lacked the horns that rhinos are known for. Judging from a nasal incision, he Paraceratherium most likely had a trunk or an extended upper lip, which it used for grasping or holding. It had long, tusk-like incisors and its diet mainly relied on shrubs, leaves or soft plants. Number 2: Sauropods With their massive bodies, powerful pillar-like legs, and extremely long necks and tails, sauropods are among the first creatures to be associated with the word “dinosaur.” The remains of these gentle giants have been found on every continent, including Antarctica, and some of the best-known species include the Diplodocus and the Brontosaurus.Sauropods are the longest, tallest and heaviest creatures to have ever roamed our planet. Their physical attributes are absolutely staggering. The ground shook as they walked, their necks were up to six times longer than those of giraffes, and some, such as the Apatosaurus, could break the sound barrier by the sheer force of their tail whips. The last surviving group of sauropods were the “titanosaurs,” named after the mythological titans of Ancient Greece. Some, like the Argentinosaurus or the Patagotitan, could reach lengths of up to 130 feet and weights in excess of 100 tons. Even though these proportions are tremendous, there have been some studies of longer and even more massive sauropod species. The tallest sauropod was likely Sauroposeidon, named after the Greek god of the sea. When it fully extended its neck, this creature could reach a height of almost 60 feet. The last sauropods died out roughly 66 million years ago, during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. Number 1: The Diprotodon The Diprotodon is, simply put, the largest marsupial ever known to man. Animals from the Marsupialia family, such as possums, koalas, kangaroos or wombats, are still around today. They’re typically found in Australia and New Zealand, as well as the neighboring islands, and the Americas.The distinctive trait that the different marsupial species share is that they carry their young in a pouch. Currently, the largest known marsupial is the red kangaroo. But the extinct Diprodoton dwarfed it in size. With an estimated height of 6.6 feet at the shoulder and a weight of about 6,000 pounds, they were close in proportions to a modern-day hippo. By some estimates, their pouches would have been large enough to fit an adult human being. Unlike kangaroos, which travel through a hopping motion, Diprotodons walked around on all-fours. Their closest living relatives are koalas and wombats. Like many other marsupials, their diet consisted of leaves, shrubs and some grasses.Diprotodons, which are part of a group known as Australian megafauna, became extinct anywhere from 50,000 to 20,000 years ago. The different theories regarding their extinction include climate change as well as overhunting or destruction of habitat by human settlers in Australia. Thanks for watching! Which of all the megafauna from this list was your favorite, and why? Let us know in the comment section below! .