There’s a reason why certain creatures are able to survive and live for millions of years. It’s because they’re absolutely terrifying, which keeps predators from messing with them. Here are 12 of the oldest animals on the planet, who also happen to be the most terrifying. There’s no scientific proof that survival skills increase with terror, but I’m convinced. They have been on Earth far longer than humans, and you’ll see why. Watch out for #7; it’ll definitely give you nightmares.
1. Frilled Shark
This cross between a shark and an eel is unsettling. The frilled shark was around for close 150 million years. Luckily, it only hangs out near the bottom of the ocean.
2. Tadpole Shrimp
I’ll admit this one isn’t too terrifying, but how else could you explain it being around for the last 220 million years?
Most thought this 360 million-year-old fish was long extinct. There was only one reported sighting in 1938… until the last 10 years, when fishermen continued to spot them.
This one isn’t scary either, but it is endangered. Humans love the taste of sturgeon. Hopefully they’ll survive and live for another 200 million years.
5. Goblin Shark
Eek! This guy is one terrifying fish. Thankfully, goblin sharks and humans don’t play together often. These guys they like to hang out around the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, just like they’ve done for the last 118 million years.
6. Martialis Heureka Ant
This ant species was unknown for the last 120 million years, until its discovery in the Amazon Jungle in 2008. This looks like the kind of bug you wouldn’t want to mess with.
7. The Lamprey
Now this animal is straight from your nightmares. Lampreys are someplace in between an eel, a leech, and a parasite. As you may envision, they utilize those frightening teeth to connect themselves to fish and draw out their blood. They’ve done this for around 360 million years. Scary.
8. Horseshoe Crab
These creepy sea critters are a common sight at many beaches across the country. They’re one of the most ancient animals on this list, having lived for the last 445 million years.
9. Sea Sponges
Sea sponges are ancient, dating back around 760 million years. Their linage is traced back to the first non-micro organisms on the planet.
Bacteria are one of the most basic and oldest forms of life on Earth. These tiny creatures ruled the world for the last 3.5 billion years. They’re also terrifying because they can cause a wide variety of deadly diseases.
No one likes jellyfish, but they don’t seem to care. These terrible stinging creatures haunted Earth’s oceans for the last 505 million years.
12. The Nautilus
The beautiful nautilus survived three mass extinctions over the last 500 million years. It also happens to be the least terrifying creature on this list. We suspect it managed to survive for so long because of its good looks and positive attitude. Way to go, nautilus.
The lamprey is going to give me nightmares for a week now. It’s looks more like something out of a low budget horror movie than something that’s actually real. Now take a deep breath. Look at the pretty nautilus and everything will be ok.