Tales of Extinction: 7 Animals You’ll NEVER See on Safari

Take a step back in time to discover some incredible African animals that lost out in the game of evolution.

Coming face to face with the Big Five on an African safari might be top of your to do list but will future generations be spotting entirely different animals?

What about the animals that we’ll never see?

Take a look at these incredible extinct creatures that live on only in their bones and our imagination.


Zebras roam the plains of Africa today, but back in the 1800s another unusual looking animal could be found in parts of Africa.

The quagga – an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra – was hunted to extinction for its distinctive hide and meat.

A quagga was captured on camera at London Zoo in 1870 and it is thought that the last quagga died in captivity at Amsterdam Zoo in 1883.

The unusual name is said to be onomatopoeic, resembling the quagga’s call.



Any traveler planning to visit Africa on safari would hope to encounter a big cat, but around 10,000 years ago you might have come across a different kind of feline altogether.

This ferocious-looking big cat lived in Africa, as well as North America and Eurasia, and was named after its enormous upper fangs (maxillary canines).

Saber-toothed cats are thought to have died out because the large prey animals that they fed on became extinct.

Other theories for their extinction include climate change, disease and over-hunting by humans.

Jim Linwood


Meaning ‘big tooth’, the Megalodon lived up to its name – fossil remains (which have been found all over the world) indicate that this giant beast reached a total length of over 16 meters, with teeth more than half a foot long.

Living from around 28 to 1.5 million years ago, it was the largest prehistoric shark in history.

Unlike other extinct species, no one knows why the Megalodon became extinct, although theories include global cooling and the disappearance of giant whales, which made up its diet.

Artistic impression of a Megalodon with two Eobalaenoptera whales by Karen Carr.



Suchomimus or ‘crocodile mimic’ lived 112 million years ago during the Cretaceous period in Africa and was a Spinosaurid dinosaur.

Scientists think it might have grown to around 12 meters, almost as big as a Tyrannosaurus, and that it probably feasted on fish and meat.



Inhabiting Africa until around 11,000 years ago, the Mastodon was a huge tusked mammal whose oldest fossil was found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Whilst it had a similar appearance to elephants and mammoths, the teeth of the Mastodon differed greatly from those of the elephant family, and their skulls were larger and flatter.



The ancestor of domestic cattle, the aurochs inhabited North Africa (along with Europe and Asia) and became extinct in 1627.

Weighing up to 1,000 kilograms, the aurochs were far larger than domestic cattle.

Causes of the aurochs’ extinction included hunting, diminishing habitat due to farming and climate changes.

If you’re taking a trip to Stockholm, Sweden you can see the skull of the last recorded Aurochs, housed in Livrustkammaren (“Royal Armory”)  museum.

Aurochs in a cave painting from Lascaux, France. Photo by Prof saxx


The dodo is one of the most well-known extinct animals, because of its demise being directly attributable to humans.

Living on the island of Mauritius, it has been extinct since the mid 1600s, caused by the wild animals that explorers bought onto the island, and due to humans themselves, who destroyed the forests where the birds lived.

Whilst early research tended to relate dodos to parrots, more recent studies have shown that they are more closely related to pigeons.


Do you have more animal extinction stories to share? Which of these animals would you most like to meet on a prehistoric safari? Post your comments below.

If you liked this, you might also like: 10 Evolution Exhibits that will Blow Your Mind.

Main image by ccsx.

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