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  • As humans we often like to think of ourselves at the top of the food chain.

  • However, this has not always been the case, and even today that is not necessarily true

  • in some environments.

  • We are going to look at 13 of the most dangerous animals in history, and how they shaped human

  • evolution.

  • You are about to go on a journey through jungles with cats the size of small cars, and lagoons

  • full of crocodiles with jaws that could swallow you whole.

  • The saying goes: “Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!”

  • But those creatures are nothing compared to the animals we have on this list.

  • The first few animals will come as little surprise to you, but you have no idea what's

  • in store after that.

  • We will be starting with leopards as number 13 on our list.

  • Remember that the human species evolved in Africa between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago,

  • while our early ancestors lived in Africa millions of years before that.

  • This means that some of the animals in Africa evolved to hunt and eat early humans.

  • That is why many of the most dangerous animals in history can be found in Africa.

  • What makes leopards so dangerous to humans is their abilities to climb trees.

  • In early human history our ancestors climbed trees to get away from predators, unfortunately

  • in the case of the leopard, the predator followed them right up said tree.

  • For early humans there was no place to hide from these stealthy cats.

  • Another advantage the leopard had over humans was its speed and ability to carry a lot of

  • weight in its jaws.

  • Hunting and eating humans was not a problem for leopards, even if we scurried up a tree

  • it could follow us, kill us, and easily carry our body back down the tree to be eaten.

  • Or if the leopard was feeling particularly lazy, it would just eat the human up in the

  • tree.

  • When we look at leopards' eating habits today, one study attributed 70% of all baboon

  • deaths to African leopards.

  • In terms of early human evolution we were not all that different from baboons, which

  • probably indicates leopards were just as skilled at killing us as baboons.

  • For our next animal you may not be surprised, but you will probably feel a little betrayed.

  • Our 12th most dangerous animal in history is the wolf.

  • The creatures that we domesticated to be our best friends were incredibly efficient at

  • tracking and killing humans in the past.

  • Although uncommon, there are still people attacked by wolves even today.

  • When it is cold, and food is scarce, we can make a delicious snack for these four legged

  • hunters.

  • One of the reasons wolves were, and still are, so dangerous to humans is because of

  • their hunting methods.

  • Their ability to track their prey long distances allows them to find even the smartest human.

  • They hunt in packs, so in the past if a human was caught out in the forest alone, they may

  • have quickly found themselves completely surrounded by a hungry group of wolves.

  • At that point there would be literally nothing the human could do, other than accepting their

  • fate as the next meal for the hungry pack.

  • It is true that our most lovable dogs today were domesticated from wolves.

  • Even the chihuahua and bulldog were once ferocious human eating animals.

  • Granted, in the past they were built like the deadly, intelligent, wolves we see today.

  • It wasn't until humans started using tools and fire that we were able to calm the wild

  • beast within the wolf and make them our best friends.

  • If you have Ophidiophobia it is most likely because of how dangerous our 11th animal is.

  • Ophidiophobia, or the fear of snakes, is practically ingrained in our DNA.

  • This shouldn't come as a surprise since in the past, as today, snakes were one of

  • the most dangerous animals to humans.

  • Not too long ago one rattlesnake bite, or the venom of a cobra, would lead to death.

  • There was no antivenom or hospitals in early human history.

  • If a human stepped on a poisonous snake, that was pretty much it, they would die.

  • However, now we are finding that venomous snakes were not the only dangerous serpents.

  • If you have ever seen the movie Anaconda you know what we're talking about.

  • If not, we highly recommend you go watch Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube battle these constrictors

  • deep in the Amazon jungle.

  • It is possible that constrictors may have been just as dangerous to humans as venomous

  • snakes; and if not as dangerous, definitely as scary.

  • Anthropologists who study the indigenous peoples of the Amazon today have uncovered evidence

  • that suggests one of the most common causes of death in those populations might be by

  • constrictor snakes.

  • Lets not forget that in the human past we were on average shorter than the human population

  • is today.

  • Constricting snakes on the other hand were larger than their current descendants.

  • This size shift in the past did not bode well for our ancestors.

  • Whether you are afraid of snakes or not, they most certainly were one of the more dangerous

  • animals in human history.

  • Speaking of being afraid of deadly animals, our next one will certainly make you wish

  • you had a bigger boat.

  • Our 10th most deadly animal is the shark.

  • These cartilaginous eating machines are the stuff of nightmares.

  • Sharks have not evolved much over the millennium, because if you are the most badass killing

  • machine in the ocean, there is really no reason to evolve.

  • Between their razor sharp teeth, powerful jaws, and incredible speeds, any human found

  • in the water with one of these animals has slim to no chance of making it out alive.

  • The largest and scariest shark in human history is the great white.

  • On average these sharks are 14 feet long, but can reach over 20 feet.

  • They have up to 300 serrated teeth that can easily cut through any part of the human body.

  • Earlier in our history we did not have the water craft of today.

  • Humans began with dugout canoes or smaller boats made of wood.

  • These crafts could easily have been tipped over by the powerful great whites making humans

  • a great snack.

  • However, the great white may not have been the most deadly shark in human history.

  • That distinction could go to the bull shark.

  • Although they are not quite as large as great whites, bull sharks can get well over 10 feet

  • long and are more than capable of eating a human.

  • One trait that makes bull sharks particularly dangerous is that they can swim in both salt

  • and freshwater.

  • Almost all sharks are restricted to the oceans, so they have to wait until humans come to

  • them.

  • But not bull sharks, they can swim up tributaries and into the fresh water that humans used

  • as a drinking source earlier in history.

  • Imagine going to get a drink of water and all of a sudden a bull shark lurches out of

  • the water at youyou might as well just gather your stuff and move as far from water

  • as possible at that point.

  • The 9th most dangerous animal on our list is the hippopotamus.

  • That's right, the animal that dances around wearing a tutu in Fantasia, is incredibly

  • dangerous to humans.

  • Even today it is estimated that hippos kill around 500 people a year in Africa.

  • That is in the present day, in the past humans had to live much closer to the water sources

  • hippos dwell in, and without the luxury of modern housing structures we have today.

  • This means hippos and humans came in contact much more frequently in the past, leading

  • to more altercations between them.

  • The hippo would always win.

  • Hippopotami do not eat humans.

  • The reason they are so dangerous is because they are territorial and aggressive.

  • They have incredibly sharp teeth and powerful jaws.

  • Hippos of the past, and today, do not want to eat humans; they just want them out of

  • their area, so they are happy to chase them away.

  • The problem is hippos are faster than you would expect, and when a human finds themself

  • under the weight of a 3000 pound hippo, they normally don't make it out alive.

  • We are now at the end of the more obvious culprits for most dangerous animals in history.

  • From here on out you might find yourself surprised; especially because our next animal is a dragon!

  • The Komodo dragon is the 8th most dangerous animal on our list.

  • Obviously the Komodo dragon is not a fire breathing, flying, reptile from the stuff

  • of legends, but it is incredibly dangerous to anybody that comes across one.

  • These dragons weigh up to 300 pounds and can easily outrun a human on open terrain.

  • Their jaws are filled with pointed teeth that make quick work of flesh and bones.

  • But, it is not the teeth that makes their bite so dangerous.

  • If a human comes across a hungry Komodo, and gets bit, the dragon will inject venom into

  • them.

  • Then if the human makes it out of the death grip of the Komodo dragon's jaws, the venom

  • will slowly paralyze them until they can't move and the Komodo can finish the job.

  • In human history if someone found themselves face to face with a Komodo dragon they would

  • have to hope their fight or flight response would immediately tell them to run for their

  • life.

  • Unfortunately for early humans, running would not help them escape from our next animal,

  • because it can fly.

  • The 7th most dangerous animal in history is the eagle.

  • The same type of bird that is the emblem of freedom for the United States, may have been

  • one of the most dangerous animals in human history.

  • Eagles are particularly dangerous to human children because of their smaller size.

  • Early human skulls have been uncovered in South Africa that were clearly associated

  • with an eagle killing.

  • Such skulls have been found near eagle nests with holes punched into their eye sockets

  • by the bird's talons.

  • Early humans didn't just need to keep a close watch on the ground and horizon, but

  • in the skies as well.

  • Even today we see that in some parts of Africa primates make up around 90% of eagles' diets.

  • It wasn't that long ago in human history where we would not have had the ability to

  • protect our young from hungry eagles swooping down from overhead.

  • And if you thought eagles being on our list of most dangerous animals in history was crazy,

  • you won't believe this next animal.

  • Our 6th most deadly animal is actually... other primates.

  • Our most closely related ancestors in the animal kingdom may have been some of our most

  • dangerous predators.

  • We like to think of ourselves as evolved far beyond all other animals on the planet, but

  • we share about 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees.

  • Like humans, other primates eat meat.

  • Sometimes if early humans crossed paths with other primates, a battle for survival would

  • ensue.

  • Primates do not seem to care how closely related they are to other species if they can eat

  • them.

  • Today we see chimps in Uganda eat colobus monkeys.

  • Both are primates, but the chimps don't care.

  • There is no reason to suspect that if a troop of chimps came across a human early in our

  • history, and they were hungry enough, the chimps would not attack and eat that human.

  • This behavior of primate on primate predation is not uncommon, we see it in Orangutans and

  • other primates as well.

  • Now we are going to get into some of the most dangerous animals that you may have never

  • heard of.

  • Our 5th most dangerous animal are hyenas, however, not the ones you are familiar with.

  • There have been as many as 100 different hyena species living at the same times as humans.

  • One species in particular was exceptionally deadly.

  • This hyena was called Pachycrocuta.

  • It was the size of a lion.

  • Imagine a cackling hyena the size of a lion in front of you; scary right?

  • Well this creature was more than capable of stalking and eating a full grown human adult.

  • Pachycrocuta had a mouth large enough to fully envelope a human's head.

  • They were also fast and fierce.

  • There was little possibility of outrunning Pachycrocuta.

  • The human could climb up a tree, but would have to hope that the giant hyena couldn't

  • knock it over.

  • Even if the tree could hold up against Pachycrocuta, it would just wait.

  • Hyenas are known to be incredibly resilient and resourceful.

  • One way or the other, Pachycrocuta would get its human prey.

  • A recent fossil dig uncovered a large mound of skulls from human ancestors in a waste

  • pile that most likely belonged to Pachycrocuta.

  • This means early humans were definitely on the menu for this monster.

  • You have probably been waiting for this next deadly animal, as it is a predator we all

  • learned about as kids.

  • The saber-toothed tiger was a ferocious hunter and the 4th most deadly animal on our list.

  • Everyone can picture its two oversized teeth hanging from its upper jaw.

  • But there are facts about this predator you may not be aware of.

  • There were actually several species of saber-toothed cats.

  • Some could weigh up to 600 pounds.

  • Their canine blade-like teeth were actually serrated on both edges, making it easier to

  • slice chunks of meat off its prey.

  • Perhaps the scariest thing about the saber-toothed cats was the jaw gape.

  • The saber-toothed cat could open its mouth to around 130 degrees.

  • Most modern large cats can only open their jaws to aout 65 degrees.

  • The wide jaw gape of a saber-toothed cat was necessary for it to get food past their long

  • canine teeth.

  • Early humans that were pinned to the ground by the massive paws of a saber-toothed cat,

  • and had to stare into the wide opened maw of the predator just before it came down on

  • them, were most likely scared to death before the saber-tooth even got its jaws around them.

  • Speaking of jaws, our next animal has the most powerful jaws in the animal kingdom.

  • The 3rd most dangerous animal in history is the crocodile.

  • One species in particular was recently found in Kenya where many early human fossils have

  • been located.

  • Unfortunately for our ancestors, they had to contend with a crocodile named Crocodylus

  • anthropophagus.

  • The name literally meanshuman-eating.”

  • It was called this because remains of our early ancestors were discovered not far from

  • the crocodile skeleton, suggesting that before the crocodile passed away, it had our ancestors

  • as its last meal.

  • The Crocodylus anthropophagus was around 24 feet long with massive teeth, and jaws that

  • could crush a human in a split second.

  • If an early human ancestor got too close to a water hole where this crocodile lurked,

  • they would be swallowed in one gulp, never to be heard from again.

  • Early human history was a treacherous time.

  • Going anywhere near the water seemed to be a dangerous venture that could cost someone

  • their life.

  • Our last two animals are just as deadly today as they were in the past.

  • The most deadly animal in the world to humans, and number 2 on our list, is the mosquito.

  • Mosquitoes kill over a million people a year and billions of people over the course of

  • human history.

  • Sure, mosquitoes are annoying, but they are also the most deadly animal to humans of the

  • past and of the present.

  • Mosquitoes transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue to humans, all of

  • which can be fatal.