The Most Popular Extinct Animal: Ranking the Fascinating Creatures of the Past

Choose the extinct animal you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 23, 2024 06:03
Get ready to embark on a prehistoric journey through time as we explore the mesmerizing world of extinct animals! StrawPoll invites you to cast your vote and contribute to our latest thrilling ranking: "What is the most popular extinct animal?" With thousands of enthusiasts sharing their passion for these long-lost creatures, we're creating the ultimate list that will make your curiosity roar. From the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex to the enigmatic Dodo, we've got an incredible lineup of majestic beasts waiting for your vote. But wait, there's more! If you think we've missed a truly extraordinary extinct animal, don't hesitate to suggest it and make your favorite join the ranks. So, gear up for an exciting adventure and help us unravel the mysteries of our planet's past. Vote now and let the prehistoric popularity contest begin!

What Is the Most Popular Extinct Animal?

  1. 1
    Tyrannosaurus rex
    Steveoc 86 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Tyrannosaurus rex is perhaps the most well-known and popular extinct animal, the T. rex was a fearsome predator and one of the last surviving dinosaurs.
    The Tyrannosaurus rex, often referred to as T. rex, is one of the most famous dinosaur species that lived during the late Cretaceous period, approximately 68 to 66 million years ago. It is a large and powerful carnivorous dinosaur known for its massive size, strong jaws, and sharp teeth.
    • Size: It reached lengths of up to 40 feet (12 meters) and stood up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall.
    • Weight: It weighed between 5 and 7 tons.
    • Appearance: T. rex had a large head with powerful jaws, small arms with two-fingered hands, and a long tail.
    • Teeth: It had large, sharp and serrated teeth, designed for crushing bones and tearing flesh.
    • Speed: It could run at speeds of up to 20-25 miles per hour (32-40 kilometers per hour).
  2. 2
    Woolly mammoth is with their shaggy fur and impressive size, woolly mammoths are a favorite among animal lovers. They were one of the last surviving ice age mammals before going extinct around 4,000 years ago.
    The Woolly mammoth was a large, extinct herbivorous mammal that lived during the ice age. It was closely related to modern elephants and was well adapted to the cold climate.
    • Scientific Name: Mammuthus primigenius
    • Size: Up to 13 feet tall and weighed up to 6 tons
    • Appearance: Covered in long, shaggy fur and had long, curved tusks
    • Habitat: Tundra regions of North America, Europe, and Asia
    • Diet: Herbivorous, primarily feeding on grasses and other vegetation
  3. 3
    Saber-toothed tiger - also known as the Smilodon, this large predatory cat had long, curved teeth that could reach up to 7 inches in length. They were one of the most iconic animals of the Pleistocene era.
    The Saber-toothed tiger, also known as Smilodon, was a large and intimidating carnivorous mammal that lived approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. It was characterized by its long, curved canine teeth, which could grow up to 7 inches in length and were adapted for precise stabbing of their prey.
    • Scientific Name: Smilodon
    • Size: Up to 6.5 feet long and 3 feet tall at the shoulder
    • Weight: Up to 440 to 660 pounds
    • Habitat: North and South America
    • Diet: Primarily herbivores such as bison, horses, and deer
  4. 4
    Dodo is a flightless bird native to Mauritius, the dodo went extinct in the 17th century due to habitat destruction and hunting. Its docile nature and unique appearance have made it a popular subject for books, movies, and cartoons.
    The Dodo was a flightless bird that once inhabited the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It was a large bird, measuring approximately three feet tall and weighing around 20-30 pounds. The Dodo had a distinct appearance, with a round body, short wings, a hooked beak, and a plump, penguin-like appearance. Its feathers were grayish-brown in color, and it had small, stubby wings that were not capable of flight. The Dodo is famous for its friendly and fearless behavior, as it had no natural predators on the island. Unfortunately, due to human interference and the introduction of other species to the island, the Dodo became extinct by the late 17th century.
    • Scientific Name: Raphus cucullatus
    • Habitat: Mauritius
    • Size: Approximately 3 feet tall
    • Weight: Around 20-30 pounds
    • Feathers: Grayish-brown
  5. 5
    Velociraptor is thanks to its appearance in the Jurassic Park movies, the Velociraptor has become one of the most recognizable dinosaurs. It was a small, speedy predator with sharp claws and a distinctive feathered appearance.
    The Velociraptor is a small to medium-sized bipedal dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period. It is widely recognized for its sleek and bird-like appearance, making it an intriguing creature in the world of dinosaurs. Its name, Velociraptor, means 'swift thief' in Latin, reflecting its known agility and hunting capabilities.
    • Length: 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters)
    • Height: 1.6 feet (0.5 meters)
    • Weight: 33-55 pounds (15-25 kilograms)
    • Diet: Carnivorous
    • Habitat: Open forests and plains
  6. 6
    Irish elk
    Sterilgutassistentin · GPL
    Irish elk - also known as the giant deer, this massive prehistoric animal stood up to 7 feet tall at the shoulder and had impressive antlers that could span up to 12 feet. They went extinct around 7,700 years ago.
    The Irish elk, also known as the giant deer or Irish deer, was a species of prehistoric deer that lived during the Pleistocene epoch. It is considered one of the largest deer species ever to have existed.
    • Scientific Name: Megaloceros giganteus
    • Height at Shoulder: 2.1 to 2.7 meters
    • Antler Span: 3.6 meters
    • Weight: 600 to 700 kilograms
    • Habitat: Open woodlands and grassy areas
  7. 7
    Passenger pigeon is once the most abundant bird in North America, the passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction in the early 20th century. Its flocks were said to darken the sky and their loss is considered a cautionary tale about overhunting and conservation.
    The Passenger pigeon was a species of bird that was native to North America. It was known for its extremely large population and migratory behavior.
    • Scientific Name: Ectopistes migratorius
    • Average Length: about 40 cm (16 in)
    • Wingspan: around 60 cm (24 in)
    • Weight: about 340-400 grams (12-14 oz)
    • Habitat: Mixed and deciduous forests in North America
  8. 8
    Megalodon - the largest shark to ever exist, the megalodon could reach up to 60 feet in length and had teeth that were over 7 inches long. It went extinct around 2.6 million years ago.
    The Megalodon, meaning 'big tooth', was an ancient and extinct species of shark that lived around 23 to 2.6 million years ago. It had a massive size and is considered one of the largest and most powerful predators to have ever lived on Earth. Its intimidating appearance and enormous teeth make it a popular subject of fascination and study in the field of paleontology.
    • Size: Estimated to grow up to a length of 60 feet (18 meters)
    • Weight: Estimated to weigh up to 50-70 tons
    • Teeth: Possessed large, serrated, triangular teeth measuring about 7 inches (18 cm) in length
    • Diet: Carnivorous, primarily feeding on marine mammals such as whales and seals
    • Habitat: Inhabited oceans worldwide, predominantly in warm-temperate to tropical regions
  9. 9
    Smilodon populator
    Dmitry Bogdanov · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Smilodon populator - another species of saber-toothed cat, the Smilodon populator was the largest of its kind and could weigh up to 1,000 pounds. It went extinct around 10,000 years ago.
    Smilodon populator, also known as the South American saber-toothed tiger, was a large extinct carnivorous mammal that lived during the Pleistocene epoch. It belonged to the family Felidae and is famous for its long and curved canines.
    • Scientific Name: Smilodon populator
    • Common Name: South American saber-toothed tiger
    • Family: Felidae
    • Epoch: Pleistocene
    • Habitat: South America
  10. 10
    Stegosaurus is a herbivorous dinosaur with distinctive plates on its back, the Stegosaurus is a popular favorite among children and dinosaur enthusiasts. It lived during the Late Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago.
    Stegosaurus is a well-known and iconic dinosaur species that lived during the Late Jurassic period. It is often recognized for its distinctive appearance and unique body features.
    • Length: 9-11 meters
    • Height: 4 meters
    • Weight: 5-7 tons
    • Period: Late Jurassic
    • Diet: Herbivorous

Missing your favorite extinct animal?


Ranking factors for popular extinct animal

  1. Popularity and public interest
    Measure how well-known and captivated the public is by the extinct animal. Popular extinct animals often have a significant presence in pop culture, movies, and books, such as dinosaurs and woolly mammoths.
  2. Scientific significance
    Determine the importance of the extinct animal in the scientific community, especially in terms of its contribution to understanding evolution, ecology, and the history of life on Earth. Some extinct species have unique features or represent transitional points between different groups of organisms, making them particularly interesting to researchers.
  3. Rarity and uniqueness
    Assess the extent to which the extinct animal represents a rare or unique lineage, or has particularly unusual or distinctive characteristics. Unusual features or few close relatives can make an extinct animal stand out and generate more interest.
  4. Fossil record quality
    Evaluate the quality and abundance of the fossil record for the extinct animal. Better-preserved fossils and a larger number of available specimens can help reconstruct the appearance and biology of the species more accurately, making it more appealing and intriguing to both the public and scientists.
  5. Time since extinction
    Consider the length of time that the extinct animal has been extinct, as more recently extinct species may be more familiar and relatable to the general public. For example, the extinction of megafauna from the last ice age might generate more interest compared to less recent extinctions.
  6. Extinction cause and human connection
    Assess whether the extinct animal was driven to extinction by human actions or natural causes, and if human activities played a significant role in its disappearance, it could increase public interest (e.g., the dodo).
  7. Aesthetic appeal
    Evaluate the physical attractiveness and "wow factor" of the extinct animal. Animals with an interesting or visually appealing appearance might capture the public's imagination more easily.
  8. Cultural significance
    Determine the extinct animal's significance in various cultures and mythologies. Animals that have inspired stories, legends, or symbols throughout history can attract more interest and fascination.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular extinct animal. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or extinct is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 206 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each extinct once every 24 hours. The rank of each extinct is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular extinct animal

Extinction is a natural phenomenon that has occurred throughout the history of the planet. However, in recent times, human activities have accelerated the rate at which species are disappearing. Many animals have gone extinct, leaving behind only their fossils and memories of their existence. These extinct animals were once a vital part of the ecosystem and played a significant role in shaping the biodiversity we see today. Polls and rankings on StrawPoll show that people are interested in learning about these extinct animals and which ones were the most popular. From the mighty dinosaurs to the gentle dodo bird, each of these animals had unique characteristics that made them fascinating to study. So, what is the most popular extinct animal? It's a tough question to answer definitively since there are so many fascinating species to choose from. However, by examining the results of polls and rankings on StrawPoll, we can get an idea of which extinct animals capture people's imaginations the most.

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