Extinct Animals

I enjoy searching for extinct animal remains or fossils. I want to see what other peoples favorite extinct creatures are, and what other observations and stories are out there.

A little while ago, some family members and I went to a creek to look for fossils. Not expecting that we would find much, we walked around the area for a while, picking up shell and sea urchin fossils as we went. After starting to head to the car, our bags full of small fossils, when to our astonishment, a Dunkleosteus plate! Observation #1

We called a specialist who told us all about our fossils. He said that we should head back to the spot where we had found it, and see if we could find more of the specimen. We ended up going back to the area in which we had found the fossil, and only a short distance up the creek, we were amazed to find another, better preserved, plate! Observation #2
We called the specialist once again, and he said that it was the same exact plate, but from a second Dunkleosteus!


Fossils are awesome, but iNat really isn’t a place to post many observations of them. If you do post a few fossil observations, please vote “No” for “Recent Evidence of Organism” in the Data Quality Assessment section of the observation:


Ok, thanks! Sorry!

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Oh, no worries! Posting a few to iNat is fine, and it’s fine to discuss here. :-)


Hands down my favourite extinct animal discovery was from a former colleague of mine- finding a live ‘extinct’ animal and getting the first confirmed in-hand individual in 150 years.

As for the properly extinct, rather than the Lazarus species takahikare moana and takahē, the moa are pretty remarkable. Would’ve loved to see one alive, especially the larger species.


That is a very well told story - both gripping and touching. Thank you for posing it.


Oh, don’t get me started!

I feel very poignant and wistful about the dodo bird and the California Mega Fauna I just missed (10-15 k too late). Oh my, saber tooths, dire wolves, aqua hippos, camels, elephants, and so, so much more!,

Gosh… But, I became fascinated with dinosaurs even way back in the 50s. I well remember the illustrations in my favorite dinosaur book and am still struck by how inaccurate those paintings were! Imagine how tickled I am when I go into a toy store or model store now and see all the dinosaur models with colors… and FEATHERS! (For kids, I love the book, “Boy, Were We Wrong” and they love it, too.)

After I retired, I taught natural science enrichment and/or summer camps to kids at a local nature center. My favorite course was dinosaurs and fossils. So many amazing aspects of science to introduce!

As for a favorite species (so hard to choose), I guess I would have to say the Parasaurolophus, with that big arching “horn” over it’s head. (Shout out to Jack Horner for his work with duck-billed dinosaurs and teaching us about the Maiasaura :).

For the parasaurolophus, I liked to experiment the with sounds they might have made. I had a differently sized “Glove-o-phones” that I held over my head and trumpeted (“Does it sound like this? Or like this? Or, what sound do YOU think it made?”). In summer camp, we had enough time for each kid to make their own “parasauralophus call”.



Easy. My favourite extinct animals are Trilobites! Not sure why - a childhood thing, I believe.


Oh! I used to have a small trilobite fosssil I bought (“with my own money”) when I was I school child. I should check my old treasure box and see if it’s still there. :)


I remember that when I was about 10 years old, my mom and dad brought me and my siblings to a public dig site. We had found a few Trilobite parts, and I was so exited when my dad found a whole one!

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I also still have a small trilobite fossil, somewhere…

I also like dinosaurs. I even bought a fake Velociraptor head fossil from the Welcome Center in the Jurassic Park portion of Orlando’s Universal Studios. Again, it is somewhere… I am sure that there are a lot of dinosaurs out there that I do not know about, besides Gojirasaurus. Technically, since all birds are descendants from Dinosaurs, then my favorite “extant” Dinosaur (besides Alligators and Crocodiles) would the domesticated chicken - Gallus gallus domesticus. It is even funnier, since in real life, Velociraptors were the size of modern day chickens! :joy:

But to get back to the original question, my favorite extinct organism would be Anomalocaris. I mean, when was the last time a giant shrimp was the apex predator of the ocean?

A depiction of Anomalocaris canadensis. Original image “Anomalocaris2019.jpg” by PaleoEquii from Wikimedia Commons, 2019, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anomalocaris2019.jpg. Accessed 17 December 2020.


growing between 1 to 3 feet long

Yup, that would scare me pretty bad :flushed:

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Jeez… where do I even start? Favorite extinct animal in general is Dilophosaurus wetherilli. Love the crests, and by far the best animal to come out of the Jurassic(In my opinion). Love trilobites, and think about the recent megafaunal extinctions during the ice age on a regular basis. Why oh why couldn’t we have preserved the Mammoths, Wooly Rhinos, Saber-toothed cats, Ground sloths, etc… Favorite very recently extinct animal is a tie between the Thylacine and Passenger Pigeon. God, would I have loved to see these species in person. If they had just lived on a liiiiitle longer… they’d still be with us. Also a big fan of the land whales, like Pakicetus and Ambulocetus. Antarctopelta and Borealopelta also have soft spots in my heart. There was also the time I found a couple mosasaur verts just emerging out of matrix in North Mississippi, so that was pretty cool. Gotta give a shout out to Quinkana as well- so close to having those amazing reptiles still with us.


When my mom was a kid, she used to see purple trilobites crawling up and down the wall of a certain room where a family member had died. She assumed everyone else saw them too, and that they were not noteworthy, until she reached her teens and they faded away. She never saw them again after that.

I have a preference for early amphibians: Eryops, Seymouria. There’s just something really cool about thinking of a salamander-like creature the size of, and filling the ecological niche of, modern day crocodilians.

I also think it would be really cool to see the Meganeura dragonfly live and buzzing.

As to fossils I have found, I have quite a few Exogyra from the Tar River, North Carolina – a bivalve with a shell that looks like a gastropod. I have fossil bittersweet clams (Glycimerididae) that look so much like extant ones. I normally would rather find fossils than purchase them, but I made exceptions for the Knightia fish and the ammonite. Coiled ammonites are my favorite cephalopods, extant or extinct.


What a neat story! There seem to be people who have that ‘gift’. I don’t.
I like all sorts of extinct creatures. Eryops & Seymoria also figured large in my childhood. They were in the Red Rose Tea card albums that I had in my childhood b294dinosaur My original plan in life was to be a Paleontologist!

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