Walking With Wikis

       Macrauchenia was a camel-like litoptern mammal that lived in South America from the Late Miocene to Late Pleistocene epochs.


Physical characteristics

Macrauchenia had a somewhat camel-like body with sturdy legs, a long neck and a relatively small head. Its

A herd of Macrauchenia by the water hole. It is now known that Macrauchenia has a shorter trunk than shown in WWB.

feet, however, more closely resembled those of a modern rhinoceros, and had three hoof-like toes on each foot. It was a relatively large animal, with a body length of around 3 meters (10ft). It was a litoptern - a unique South American ungulate mammal and it didn't have any close modern relatives other than horses, rhinos and tapirs: they all died out at the time of the Pleistocene.

One striking characteristic of Macrauchenia is that, unlike most other mammals, the openings for nostrils on its skull were atop the head, leading some early scientists to believe that, much like a whale, it used these nostrils as a form of snorkel. Soon after some more recent findings, this theory was rejected. A more likely theory is that the animal possessed a trunk, albeit a very small one, more like a extended upper lip.  One insight into Macrauchenia's habits is that its ankle joints and shin bones may indicate that it was adapted to have unusually good mobility, being able to rapidly change direction when it ran at high speed.

Macrauchenia is known, like its relative, Theosodon, to have had a full set of 44 teeth.

Behavior and Traits

A species of mammal not closely related to any modern mammal, Macrauchenia lived in huge herds and were unique to South America during their time, but they were also the last of their kind. They were prime targets for Smilodon. Macrauchenia were fast, wary animals and had outstanding maneuverability. Male Macrauchenia live separately from their herds and often wonder into the scrub forests to browse, using their long noses to strip leaves.

In Walking with Series

Walking with Beasts

Macrauchenia 2.jpg

Sabre Tooth

Macrauchenia was depicted as the main food source of Smilodon and terror birds, as both of those creatures attack these herbivores several times during the episode.

Macrauchenia had no defense against either of these predators, save for greater speed and maneuverability, but the pack hunting method of Smilodon and the terror birds negated these advantages.

On occasion, both Macrauchenia males and females with calves would wander away from the main herd - but that just made them more vulnerable with predators, who would ambush Macrauchenia before the litopterns would run away.