While you may not have to worry about running into a T-Rex on your morning jog, not all traces of dinosaurs are buried deep in the earth. In fact, some (very, very) distant relatives of the terrorizing creatures roam around the world today.
SIZE: Around 1.5 feet long and 1-3 pounds
The closest relative to the spikey and scaly tuatara is an extinct group of reptiles that lived around the same time as dinosaurs. Unlike lizards, the tuataras enjoys cooler weather, and they have no outer ears. Their upper jaw has two rows of teeth that overlap the one row on the lower jaw. However, that’s not the only fascinating feature they have. These nocturnal creatures also have a third eye, with a retina, lens and nerve endings. As they mature, scales cover the eye, making it difficult to use for sight.
SIZE: 4 to 5.6 feet tall; females weigh approximately 165 pounds, males weigh approximately 120 pounds
Birds are actually the closest descendants of dinosaurs, and the flightless cassowary is living proof.
Since the cassowary is known as the most dangerous bird in the world, you don’t want to get on their bad side. Although they can’t fly, these giant birds can jump almost seven feet in the air, run up to 30 miles an hour and even swim! Their mega three-toed feet each have a razor-sharp claw on the inner toe that can be four inches long!
FUN FACT: The cassowary’s call resonates with the lowest frequency among all bird species, nearly reaching the threshold of human hearing.
SIZE: About 20 inches long from head to tail and 2-5 pounds
Evolving over 112 million years ago, duck-billed platypuses have a beaver-like tail, duck-billed snout and webbed otter feet, making this small egg-laying mammal even more fascinating than the dinosaurs its ancient ancestors once roamed alongside. While the platypus may not have razor-sharp teeth, the males are actually one of the only venomous mammals in the world. Using hollow spurs on their back legs, the platypus injects venom into threatening predators that get too close. Although the venom’s not enough to kill a human, it will leave you in pain for weeks, if not longer. Yikes.