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15 Extinct Animals Imagined by Midjourney (AI Art)

Dodo birds and wooly mammoths may be extinct, but that won’t stop Midjourney from creating beautiful images of them. Here are 15 extinct animals as imagined by Midjourney.
Updated May 13, 2024
An artificial intelligence’s version of Noah’s ark, generated with Midjourney
An artificial intelligence’s version of Noah’s ark, generated with Midjourney

Nature is full of wonders, both past and present. Unfortunately, human activity and climate change has led to the tragic loss of countless species over the centuries. But fear not: Midjourney provides a quick way to bring these animals back to life through simple prompts.

In this article, we'll explore 15 captivating extinct animals that have been brought to life through the power of Midjourney. From the iconic dodo bird to the elusive Bramble Cay melomys, these images give us a peek into the rich biodiversity that once graced our planet.

Dodo Birds

These big, flightless pigeon dudes were once a common sight on the island of Mauritius, but hunting and invasive predators did them in back in the 17th century. Sadly, they're long gone, but check out these Midjourney-generated images that bring their iconic appearance to life:

Saber-toothed Cats (Smilodons)

Saber-toothed cats, also known as Smilodons, were large predatory felines that roamed North and South America during the Pleistocene epoch. With their signature fanglike upper canine teeth, these hunters eventually went extinct around 10,000 years ago. The Midjourney images provide a compelling visualization of these ancient, apex predators.

Wooly Mammoths

These massive, wooly-coated elephant relatives were well-suited to the cold Pleistocene climate. But they eventually went extinct around 4,000 years ago, probably thanks to a combo of climate change and human hunting. This is Midjourney’s interpretation of them:

Woolly Rhinoceros

The woolly rhinoceros was a large, heavily-built relative of modern rhinoceroses that inhabited the grasslands of Eurasia during the Pleistocene. These powerful, cold-adapted animals went extinct around 10,000 years ago due to a mix of environmental changes and human activity. 

Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine)

Also known as the thylacine, these shy, carnivorous marsupials were native to Tasmania. They disappeared from the wild by the 1930s due to a mix of hunting, habitat loss, and disease. The Midjourney images give us a glimpse of this distinctive-looking, extinct animal.

Irish Elk

These massive, antlered creatures were another Pleistocene heavyweight. They went extinct around 7,700 years ago, likely due to climate change and human activity. The Midjourney-generated images capture the impressive size and scale of these ancient deer.

Baiji White Dolphin

This unique freshwater dolphin species was only found in China's Yangtze River. But sadly, it was declared functionally extinct in the wild by 2006 due to pollution, overfishing, and habitat degradation. The Midjourney AI has worked to bring this rare cetacean back to life:

Quagga

This distinctive-looking zebra subspecies, native to South Africa, went extinct in the late 19th century due to hunting and habitat loss. The Midjourney images do a great job of showcasing the quagga's unique striped pattern that faded into a solid brown on the rear:

Golden Toad

This tiny, bright orange amphibian was endemic to a small region of Costa Rica. Sadly, it disappeared from the wild by 1989 due to a mix of climate change, disease, and habitat destruction. Here’s how Midjourney imagines them:

Carolina Parakeet

The Carolina parakeet was a vibrant, green parakeet that was native to the eastern United States. Although they’re extinct, Midjourney provides a pretty accurate depiction of how they looked like when they were plenty:

Imperial Woodpecker

The imperial woodpecker was the largest woodpecker species in the world, native to the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains of Mexico. Their extinction is a subject for discussion among zoologists, as some believe a small population of them are still left in the wild.

Passenger Pigeon

The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird species in North America, with flocks that numbered in the billions. Those days are gone, but we can still see them in AI-generated images like these ones:

Christmas Island Shrew

The Christmas Island shrew was a tiny, insectivorous mammal that was endemic to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Now, they can come back to life thanks to Midjourney:

Bramble Cay Melomys

The Bramble Cay melomys was a small, rodent that was endemic to a remote island in the Torres Strait, off the northern coast of Australia. The Midjourney images offer a poignant visual representation of this lost creature:

Pinta Island Tortoise

The Pinta Island tortoise was a subspecies of the Galápagos tortoise native to the Pinta Island in the Galápagos archipelago. Sadly, this iconic reptile was hunted to extinction in the wild by the 1970s, with the last known individual, "Lonesome George," dying in captivity in 2012.

What’s Next?

There’s no sugarcoating it: AI art is controversial. But if we limit its use to creative pursuits such as this one, you can open up a world that’s already gone. The ability to make realistic renders of extinct animals is a fun exercise, and one I’ll keep doing in the future.

Liked any of these photos? You can save any of them or feel free to create your own. In the meantime, you can also check out some of our Midjourney creations in articles like this one or this one, or maybe perhaps this one? We’ve got tons of them, so make sure to browse our catalog if you’re interested.

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Written by John Angelo Yap
Hi, I'm Angelo. I'm currently an undergraduate student studying Software Engineering. Now, you might be wondering, what is a computer science student doing writing for Gold Penguin? I took up studying computer science because it was practical and because I was good at it. But, if I had the chance, I'd be writing for a career. Building worlds and adjectivizing nouns for no other reason other than they sound good. And that's why I'm here.
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