Top 10 Extinct Animals That You Need to Know

Top 10 Extinct Animals

The world has lost many amazing creatures over the centuries, and these top 10 extinct animals are some of the most fascinating. From the gigantic woolly mammoth to the flightless dodo, these animals were all unique and played an important role in their ecosystems.


Common Name

Scientific Name



Thylacosmilus atrox



Eobasileus maximus



Equus quagga



Thylacinus cynocephalus


Irish elk

Megaloceros giganteus


Pyrenean Ibex

Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica


Steller’s Sea Cow

Hydrodamalis gigas


Bali Tiger

Panthera tigris balica


Woolly Mammoth

Mammuthus primigenius



Camelops hesternus

One of the most iconic extinct animals is the dodo. This flightless bird was found on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, and it was hunted to extinction by humans in the 17th century. Another well-known extinct animal is the great auk. This large seabird was found in the North Atlantic Ocean, and it was hunted to extinction for its feathers and meat.

Other extinct animals on this list include the sabre-toothed cat, the steller’s sea cow, and the passenger pigeon. These animals all disappeared for a variety of reasons, including hunting, habitat loss, and climate change.

Extinct Animals

The loss of these animals is a tragedy, but it is also a reminder of the importance of conservation. We need to do everything we can to protect the animals that are still alive, so that they do not suffer the same fate as these extinct creatures.


1. Thylacosmilus: Thylacosmilus Atrox

Thylacosmilus, also known as the “marsupial saber-tooth,” was an extinct carnivorous mammal that lived in South America during the late Miocene to early Pliocene epochs, approximately 9 million to 2 million years ago. Despite its name, Thylacosmilus is not closely related to true saber-toothed cats like Smilodon. It belonged to a distinct family known as Thylacosmilidae.

Thylacosmilus had a unique appearance characterized by its elongated, sabre-like upper canines that could reach up to 7 inches (18 cm) in length. These canines were likely used to deliver fatal bites to its prey. It had a robust body, with a height of about 2 feet (60 cm) at the shoulder, and a weight estimated to be around 200 pounds (90 kg). Unlike most carnivorous mammals, Thylacosmilus had a pouch-like structure similar to modern marsupials, suggesting it may have possessed some marsupial-like reproductive characteristics.


2. Eobasileus: Eobasileus Maximus

Eobasileus maximus, commonly referred to as the “Crowned Beast,” was a large herbivorous mammal that inhabited North America during the late Oligocene epoch, around 30 million years ago. It was a member of the extinct family Brontotheriidae, which were distant relatives of modern rhinoceroses.

Eobasileus maximus was one of the largest brontotheres, with an estimated body length of about 16 feet (5 meters) and a shoulder height of approximately 8.2 feet (2.5 meters). It possessed a massive skull with a protruding bony horn-like structure on its snout, which was likely used for display rather than combat. Its body was robust and heavily built, similar to that of a rhinoceros.

These herbivores likely fed on leaves and low-lying vegetation in the forests and grasslands of prehistoric North America. The extinction of Eobasileus and other brontotheres is thought to be related to climate change and the transition to a more open, grassland-dominated environment.


3. Quagga: Equus Quagga

The Quagga, scientifically known as Equus quagga, was a subspecies of the plains zebra that once roamed the grassy plains of South Africa. It is considered to be an extinct animal, with the last individual dying in captivity in 1883. The Quagga was distinguished by its unique coat pattern, which displayed stripes on the front half of its body, while the rear half had a brownish coloration with no stripes, resembling a horse.

Quaggas were social herbivores, living in herds and grazing on grasses and other vegetation. They had a horse-like body with a height at the shoulder of about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) and weighed around 500 to 700 pounds (230 to 320 kilograms).

Hunting and habitat loss were the primary factors leading to the extinction of the Quagga. The last wild Quaggas were killed for their meat and hides, while their grazing lands were converted for agriculture. Efforts are currently underway to revive the Quagga through selective breeding of plains zebras that exhibit Quagga-like characteristics.


4. Thylacine: Thylacinus Cynocephalus

The Thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian Tiger or Tasmanian Wolf, was a carnivorous marsupial that was native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. It had a unique appearance with tiger-like stripes on its lower back and a stiff tail, resembling that of a kangaroo. The Thylacine was the largest carnivorous marsupial of modern times.

Thylacines had a specialized jaw structure that allowed them to open their mouths extremely wide, facilitating their consumption of large prey. They primarily fed on kangaroos and small mammals. Sadly, due to hunting, habitat loss, and disease, the Thylacine was declared extinct in 1936, with the last known individual dying in captivity in Hobart, Tasmania.

Efforts to preserve the Thylacine were largely unsuccessful, and today it is considered one of the most iconic examples of human-caused extinction. However, reported sightings and unverified evidence have fueled speculation and hope that some individuals may have survived in remote areas, although no conclusive proof has been found.


5. Irish Elk: Megaloceros Giganteus

The Irish Elk, also known as the Giant Deer or Irish Megaloceros, was one of the largest deer species to have ever existed. Despite its name, the Irish Elk was not exclusive to Ireland but had a widespread distribution across Europe and parts of Asia. It lived during the Pleistocene epoch and became extinct around 7,700 years ago.

The Irish Elk stood at an impressive height of around 2 meters (6.5 feet) at the shoulder and possessed massive, branched antlers spanning up to 3.65 meters (12 feet) in width. These antlers are the largest known antlers of any deer species. They likely played a role in both courtship displays and defense against predators.

The diet of the Irish Elk consisted mainly of grasses, sedges, and shrubs. It is believed that the species went extinct due to a combination of environmental changes, including the loss of suitable habitats and the impact of hunting by early humans.

Fossil remains of the Irish Elk have been found in various parts of Europe, and the impressive antlers have captivated the imagination of scientists and artists alike, making it one of the most iconic extinct animals.

irish elk

6. Pyrenean Ibex: Capra Pyrenaica Pyrenaica

The Pyrenean Ibex, also known as the Pyrenean Wild Goat, was a subspecies of the Spanish Ibex and inhabited the mountainous regions of the Pyrenees in southwestern Europe. It was well adapted to its alpine environment, with sturdy hooves and a thick coat to withstand the harsh climate.

The Pyrenean Ibex was characterized by its magnificent, backward-curving horns that could reach up to 75 centimeters (30 inches) in length. The males had larger and more robust horns than the females. They were herbivores, feeding on a variety of vegetation, including grasses, shrubs, and lichens.

Sadly, the Pyrenean Ibex was declared extinct in 2000, making it the first animal species to become extinct due to cloning efforts. In a groundbreaking scientific experiment, scientists attempted to clone the Pyrenean Ibex using preserved DNA and an ordinary domestic goat as a surrogate. Although one cloned individual was successfully born, it died shortly after birth due to a lung defect.

The extinction of the Pyrenean Ibex serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of biodiversity and the challenges faced in preserving endangered species. Efforts continue to protect and conserve the remaining populations of other ibex species found across Europe and Asia.

pyeren ibex

7. Steller’s Sea Cow: Hydrodamalis Gigas

Steller’s sea cow was a large marine mammal that belonged to the order Sirenia, which includes manatees and dugongs. It was named after Georg Wilhelm Steller, a naturalist who first described it in 1741. Steller’s sea cow was the largest of the sirenians, reaching up to 10 meters in length and weighing up to 10 tons.

It had a thick layer of blubber to keep it warm in the cold waters of the North Pacific Ocean, where it lived. It had no teeth, but used horny plates in its mouth to graze on kelp and other seaweeds. It had a forked tail, small eyes and ears, and two front flippers that it used for steering and digging.

Steller’s sea cow was a slow and gentle animal that lived in herds of up to 100 individuals. It had no natural predators, except for killer whales and humans. Unfortunately, it was hunted to extinction by European sailors and fur traders, who valued its meat, oil, skin, and bones. The last sighting of Steller’s sea cow was in 1768, only 27 years after its discovery.

stellars sea cow

8. Bali Tiger: Panthera Tigris Balica

Bali tiger was a subspecies of tiger that was endemic to the island of Bali, Indonesia. It was the smallest of the tiger subspecies, with males measuring about 2.2 meters in length and weighing about 90-100 kilograms, and females measuring about 1.8 meters in length and weighing about 65-80 kilograms.

It had a dark orange coat with black stripes that were narrower and more densely spaced than those of other tigers. It also had a distinctive white spot on the back of each ear. Bali tiger was a solitary and nocturnal hunter that preyed on deer, wild boar, monkeys, and birds. It preferred to live in dense forests and grasslands, where it could hide and ambush its prey. Bali tiger was revered by the Balinese people as a symbol of power and spirituality, but it was also feared and persecuted as a threat to livestock and human lives.

It faced habitat loss due to deforestation and agricultural expansion, as well as poaching for its skin, bones, and other body parts. The last confirmed sighting of Bali tiger was in 1937, although unconfirmed reports persisted until the 1970s.

bali tiger

9. Woolly Mammoth: Mammuthus Primigenius

Woolly mammoth was a species of mammoth that lived during the Pleistocene epoch, from about 400,000 to 4,000 years ago. It was one of the largest land mammals ever to exist, reaching up to 3.4 meters in height at the shoulder and weighing up to 6 tons. It had a thick coat of brown fur that covered its entire body, except for its trunk and tail.

It also had long curved tusks that could grow up to 5 meters in length, which it used for fighting, digging, and lifting snow. Woolly mammoth was adapted to the cold and harsh environment of the Ice Age, where it roamed across Eurasia and North America. It fed mainly on grasses, sedges, shrubs, and herbs that grew in the tundra and steppe regions.

It lived in herds of up to several hundred individuals, led by a dominant female called a matriarch. Woolly mammoth became extinct due to a combination of factors, including climate change, habitat loss, human hunting, and disease. The last isolated populations survived until about 4,000 years ago on Wrangel Island in Siberia.

wolly mammoth

10. Camelops: Camelops Hesternus

Camelops was a genus of camel that lived in North America during the Pleistocene epoch, from about 3 million to 11,000 years ago. It was closely related to modern camels, but differed in some features. It had a shorter neck and legs than modern camels, but a longer head and larger teeth. It also lacked the distinctive humps of modern camels, but had a fatty hump at the base of its tail instead.

Camelops was about 2.2 meters tall at the shoulder and weighed about 800 kilograms. It had a light brown coat with darker spots or stripes on its sides and legs. Camelops was a herbivorous animal that fed on various plants that grew in the grasslands and woodlands of North America. It could also browse on leaves from trees and shrubs when grasses were scarce.

It lived in groups of up to several dozen individuals that migrated seasonally across large distances. Camelops became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene epoch along with many other megafauna, possibly due to overhunting by humans, climate change, or competition from other animals.


Top Extinct Animals

The animals on this list represent a wide range of species, from the large and impressive woolly mammoth to the small and unique thylacine. They all played an important role in their respective ecosystems, and their extinction is a loss to the natural world.

The reasons for their extinction are varied, but human activity is often a major factor. Hunting, habitat loss, and climate change have all contributed to the demise of these animals.

It is important to remember these extinct animals and the roles they played in the world. We must also learn from the mistakes that led to their extinction, so that we can prevent other species from suffering the same fate.

Here are some additional thoughts on the importance of learning about extinct animals:

  • Extinct animals can teach us about the natural world. By studying extinct animals, we can learn more about the evolution of life on Earth and the different ecosystems that have existed over time.
  • Extinct animals can help us to understand the impact of human activity on the environment. The extinction of many animals is a direct result of human activities, such as hunting, habitat loss, and climate change. By learning about these extinct animals, we can better understand the consequences of our actions and take steps to protect the species that are still alive.
  • Extinct animals can inspire us to conserve biodiversity. The loss of any species is a loss to the natural world. By learning about extinct animals, we can be inspired to take action to protect the species that are still alive and prevent further extinctions.

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