User:WolfmanSF/List of prehistoric megafauna

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Megafauna are large animals. This list will include all extinct that lived in prehistoric times (at least before the Holocene). The list may never be complete as new fossil animals are discovered every year.

List of species







With the continent of Pangaea beginning to collide, large expanses of land started to widen. With this kind of space, reptiles began to grow to large sizes.



Since their beginnings in the Triassic Period, dinosaurs started growing to massive sizes. The available amounts of food allowed dinosaurs to do this.


Flowering plants started to flourish during this period. Certain dinosaurs evolved a beak in order to eat the new plants. This lead to the ceratopsians, pachycephalosaurs, hadrosaurs, & ankylosaurs. On specific continents, (like South America and Africa), carnivorous dinosaurs grew to large sizes in order to feed upon their sauropod neighbors.


With the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, numerous ecological niches were left vacant. This created an opportunity for mammals, and to a lesser extent birds and reptiles, to diversify; many lineages displayed a trend of increasing size, with some eventually reaching megafaunal proportions.



It was during this epoch that grasses first appeared. Many mammals couldn't eat the grass, which led to several adaptations to do so. In result, deer, horses, rhinoceroses, antelope and many other different species of mammals evolved.




Fossil evidence had showed that as humans started to colonize the continents and islands, many of the large mammals, birds, and reptiles began to die out. By 10,000 years, 2/3 of the world's megafauna had became extinct.

See also


  • Richardson, Hazel. (2003): Smithsonian Handbooks: Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life. Dorling Kindersley, New York. ISBN 978-0-7894-9361-3
  • Walker, Cyril & Ward, David. (2002): Smithsonian Handbooks: Fossils. Dorling Kindersley, New York. ISBN 978-0-7894-8984-5

NOTE: functional category tags should not be placed in these subpages while they are in user space.

[[Category:Megafauna]] [[Category:Prehistoric animals]] [[Category:Lists of animals]]