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Thylacine, Thylacinus cynocephalus

Tasmanian Wolf or Thylacine, Thylacinus cynocephalus

The Tasmanian Wolf is not a wolf, but a carnivorous marsupial and a relative of wombats and kangaroos.  It even has a pouch.   Tasmanian officials promoting ranching paid bounties to hunters.  Believed to be extinct for well over half a century, unconfirmed reported sightings persist.

Woodcut illustration of the Carolina parakeet

Carolina Parakeet, Gustav Mutzel

Once abundant, this extinct species nested in large colonies in the cypress swamps in the South Atlantic and Gulf States. They migrated up the Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers to the Platte and regularly to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska, and in the east to Pennsylvania. Hunted for their feathers and slaughtered as pests, the last reported sighting in the wild was a small flock in Florida in 1920.

Great Auk or Garfowl

Great Auk

The Great Auk or Garfowl was also referred to by some as a Penguin. The Great Auk inhabited the coasts and islands of the North Atlantic from Virginia and Ireland to Greenland and Iceland almost to the Arctic Circle. The flightless bird was easily captured. They and their eggs fed many sailors. Shorebirds that breed in a limited number of colonies are susceptible to concentrated stresses and the Great Auk was extinct by mid Nineteenth Century.

English Wolf

English Wolf

The wolf became extinct in England in 1486, Scotland in 1743, and Ireland in 1770.

Turanian Tiger

Turanian Tiger, Caspian Tiger

Caspian Tigers lived in China, Tajikistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey.  They were hunted for their furs and to protect livestock.  A ban on hunting the Caspian Tiger in the USSR in 1947 followed their greatest destruction in the 1930s.  The last Caspian Tiger reported shot was in 1957.

Steller's Sea Cow

Steller’s Sea Cow

Steller’s Sea Cow was discovered in the Aleutian Islands by George Steller while exploring with Vitus Bering in 1741. They grew as large as 35 feet long and weighed up to three-and-a-half tons. Sailors ate their meat and used their leather. They were easily killed and vanished from their only home within 30 years after Steller’s discovery.

George Steller's drawing of the Aleutian Islands Sea Cow

George Steller’s drawing of the Aleutian Islands Sea Cow

Pallas' Cormorant of the Aleutian Islands

Spectacled Cormorant, Pallas’ Cormorant

Also discovered in the Aleutian Islands by George Steller while exploring with Vitus Bering in 1741. The Spectacled Cormorant was extinct within about a century.

Dodo, a flightless bird of Mauritius


In 1505, Portuguese explorers discovered the island of Mauritius and the 50 lb flightless Dodos which supplemented their food stores. Imported pigs, monkeys and rats fed on the Dodo’s eggs in their ground nests. The last Dodo was killed in 1681.

Quagga, Equus burchelli quagga


Quagga, Equus burchelli quagga, of the Karoo Plains and southern Free State of South Africa were a subspecies of the Burchell’s Zebra, although their unique appearance wouldn’t necessarily make this apparent. Some thought incorrectly that the Quagga was the female of Burchell’s Zebra, probably because the natives gave both zebras the same name.

In the wild, Quaggas, Ostriches and Wildebeests often grazed together in what was termed the “triple alliance”. The Quagga’s hearing, the Ostrich’s eyesight and the Wildibeast’s keen sense of smell comprised excellent defense from predators for the entire herd. However, its limited range made it all the more vulnerable and Quaggas were hunted to the brink of extinction in the mid 19th Century by settlers raising sheep, goats and other livestock. The last Quagga died in 1883 in an Amsterdam Zoo.


Mammoth Cave Paintings

Mammoth Cave Paintings

Illustration of Irish deer by Charles R Knight

Irish Deer

Herds of the Giant Irish Deer lived in Europe and Ireland during the late Pleistocene until about 10,000 or 11,000 years ago. It stood six feet high at its shoulders, the size of Moose, and its broad antlers spanned ten feet.

Cave bears high on a rocky cliff

Cave Bear

The Cave Bear lived in Europe during the Pleistocene (1.8 million years ago to 11,000 years ago) from 500,000 years ago until 10,000 years ago.  Their remains have been found in caves where they lived and early humans left their drawings on cave walls.  When upright, they stood 12 feet tall.

A saber toothed tiger on the edge of a mountain forest.

Saber Tooth Tiger

Saber tooth tigers lived in Europe and North America. They were fast runners for short distances and probably ambushed their prey in packs. The Hoplophoneus species lived 20 million years ago. The Smilodon species lived during the Pleistocene from 1.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago when it became extinct.

A woolly rhinoceros in the snowy Acrtic

Wooly Rhinoceros, Coelodonta

The Wooly Rhinoceros lived in the tundra of Europe and Asia as recently as 10,000 years ago. It ate grasses and other plants, was 11 feet long, weighed 2400 lbs, and was hunted by humans.

Cave Painting of Woolly Rhinoceros

Woolly Rhinoceros

Cave painting of the woolly rhinoceros, Font de Gaume Dordogne

Crovalces, a moose of the Pleistocene


A Pleistocene Moose that lived in North America.

Cave Lion, largest cat that ever lived

Cave Lion

Cave Lions were the largest cat that ever lived, larger than modern day lions, almost 5 feet tall at the shoulder. Paintings of have been found in caves of Europe and Asia, and even an ivory sculpture. Some migrated to North America 100,000 years ago. They became extinct around 10,000 years ago.

Long Jawed Mastodon

Long Jawed Mastodon

Long Jawed Mastodons stood about 4 1/2 ft high, had four tusks and lived in the Oligocene epoch (from about 33.7 to 23.8 million years ago), part of the Tertiary Period in the Cenozoic Era.

During the Oligocene epoch, the first Mastodons lived in Africa and their larger descendants spread over Asia, Europe and finally to Northern America about 15 million years ago in the Miocene (23.8 to 5.3 million years ago.) The last Long-jawed Mastodons lived in North America and became extinct near the end of the Pleistocene (1.8 million to 11,000 years ago)



American Mastodons lived about 15 million years ago and became extinct about 6,000 years ago. They stood about 10 feet tall, ate grass, leaves and water plants of the lowlands and swamps which they roamed.

Woolly Mammoth

Woolly Mammoth

The Woolly Mammoths were about 11 feet tall and lived in the Arctic Regions of Europe, Asia and North America in the Pleistocene (1.8 million to 11 thousand years ago) and became extinct between 5000 and 10,000 years ago.

Hairy mammoth bull and herd.

Hairy Mammoth

The Hairy Mammoth stood about 12 feet tall, lived in Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene and became extinct as recently as from 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. Mammoths were hunted during the stone age and Cro-Magnon people painted Mammoth images on cave walls.

Giant Ground Sloth

Giant Ground Sloth

The Giant Ground Sloth, Megatherium americanum, was 18 feet long, as big as an elephant, and lived in South America during the Pleistocene until just a few thousand years ago. Other species from the size of a cat to that of the the giant ground sloth lived from the Arctic to Antarctica. They were hunted by humans and some believe humans may even have farmed them.

Extinct Glyptodon


Glyptodon was a huge armored mammal that lived in South and North America during the Pleistocene (1.8 million to 11,000 years ago). Some were as long as 16 feet and would have weighed about as much as a small car. They were related to modern day armadillos. Glyptodon is believed to have been an herbivore, grazing on grasses and other plants.