[ meg-uh-faw-nuh ]

  1. Zoology. large or giant animals, especially of a given area. Because megafauna tend to have long lives and slow population growth and recovery rates, many such species, as elephants and whales, are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation by humans.

  2. Ecology. animals of a given area that can be seen with the unaided eye.

  1. Classical Mythology. large or giant mythical creatures, often resembling a familiar animal, as a hellhound, or a composite of different animals, as a griffin.

Origin of megafauna

First recorded in 1925–30; mega- + fauna

Words Nearby megafauna Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use megafauna in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for megafauna


/ (ˈmɛɡəˌfɔːnə) /

  1. the component of the fauna of a region or period that comprises the larger terrestrial animals

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for megafauna


[ mĕgə-fô′nə ]

  1. Large or relatively large animals of a particular place or time period. Saber-toothed tigers and mastodons belong to the extinct megafauna of the Oligocene and Pleistocene Epochs.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.