Definition of megafauna in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmeɡəˌfônə/


1The large mammals of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
Example sentences
  • A visitor to America's Yellowstone National Park is sure to spot some of the large mammals, or megafauna, for which the region is justly famous.
  • Put forward by a team of U.S. biologists, the plan argues for restoring giant mammals, or megafauna, that roamed North America during the last Ice Age.
  • The great mammalian megafauna are flourishing, and the hominid primates have become increasingly skilled at the use of fire and tool-making.
1.1 Ecology Animals that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
Example sentences
  • The ESA has the ability to protect species ranging from small subalpine plants to large megafauna around the globe but each individual species listed under the ESA may require specialized monitoring programs.
  • During the Pleistocene Epoch, which ended about 11,000 years ago, this scavenger dined on the carcasses of mastodons, giant sloths, primitive horses, and other megafauna of the time.
  • A wonderful guide to Pleistocene ecology, this book describes the flora that evolved in association with large mammals, birds, and other megafauna that are now extinct.



Pronunciation: /ˌmeɡəˈfônl/
Example sentences
  • One of the classic scientific debates, on a par with ‘nature vs. nurture,’ albeit far more obscure, is the question of what caused the great megafaunal extinction at the end of the Pleistocene.
  • After many decades of debate, the North American end-Pleistocene megafaunal mass extinction remains a lightning rod of controversy.
  • The Bayesian skyline plot suggests that the bison species went through a severe bottleneck around 10,000 radiocarbon years ago, coincident with the time when many North American megafaunal species went extinct.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: meg·a·fau·na

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.