Humans may be the ones who cracked the code on cell phones, written language, and sliced bread, but the animal kingdom brings a lot to the table in terms of sheer size and strength. Yes, it was a human being who wrote “Romeo and Juliet,” as was the inventor of the vacuum cleaner, but these accomplishments don’t mean much to a 12-foot-wide crab or a 300-pound bird. As humans, we can only bow our heads in respect to these massive kings and queens of the animal world.
The animals included on this list all share one trait: They are larger than any other animal of their kind, which may have a little something to do with an evolutionary trend. In recent years, new research has emerged in support of Cope’s rule, which posits that over generations, animals will evolve to become larger. This Stanford study found that while it’s not necessarily the case that all animals have become bigger over time, those that were already on the larger side did evolve and branch off to become more diverse—which can ultimately prove beneficial in terms of survival.
That being said, there are certainly some ancient creatures whose unfathomable size would have made them an unwelcome guest in the modern world. Take the extinct Titanoboa, for instance: a 3,000-pound, 48-foot-long snake whose remains were discovered in Colombia.
Stacker has done extensive research in order to create this unique list, which features the largest animals of their kind for certain categories of the animal kingdom. These categories, including mammal, bird, fish, and beyond, offer an overall look at the living beings that tower over others of their kind.
Read on to learn more about the biggest animals in the world.