Kicking up a spray of dirt in this 3D rendering, a massive smilodon, a beast of fur and fang, leaps out of the murky mists. Image Credit: Shutterstock

When we think of extinct creatures that walked the Earth, we often think of dinosaurs. But they weren’t the only prehistoric animals to leave a mark on our planet.

Click start to play today’s animal-themed Word Search.

One of the words featured in today’s puzzle is the macrauchenia. Back in 1838, British naturalist Charles Darwin was digging around for fossils near Puerto San Julian in Patagonia, which is a region in the southernmost tip of South America. On his expedition, he came across odd bones that he thought might belong to a prehistoric llama. According to US-based science magazine Scientific American, despite its llama- or camel-like proportions, the bones belonged to an animal that had never been seen before and didn’t seem to fit in with any living group of mammals.

It was only in 2015, when protein and DNA analysis could be done, that the bones gave up their secret. Its species was given the name macrauchenia patachonica. Darwin’s mystery mammal was one of the last remaining members of a group of animals that emerged right after dinosaurs disappeared, about 66 million years ago. Macrauchenia lived during the last Ice Age and resembled bulky camels without the hump, with a long neck and a short trunk for a nose.

A 3D rendering of a macrauchenia, a mammal that had stumped paleontologists for decades. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Another extinct animal from today’s Word Search, the smilodon, is more well-known, because its other name is the saber-toothed tiger. Interestingly, “tiger” is misleading as smilodons were not even closely related to tigers. They belong to Carnivora, the mammalian order that contains cats, dogs, bears, and weasels.

Shorter than today’s lions and twice as heavy, smilodons had enormous, deadly-sharp canines. They lived in packs, but preferred to hunt by charging from an ambush rather than run long distances to chase down their prey.

Find these long extinct creatures and more in today’s Word Search! Let us know if you enjoyed it at