"What is the most famous animal in China?"
The Chinese literally translates to "Which Chinese animal is most famous?" - I know that substantially it's the same thing, but the phrasing is not 100% the same. I think perhaps 中国最有名的动物是什么? better fits the English.
That's correct too; colloquially the given one is acceptable, it's like asking you to fill in the blanks at （什么动物）.
I struggled to put this sentence together without a 在 and 是, can someone help me out here?
I'll give it a shot: it's like asking you to fill in the blanks at （什么动物）, which isn't very satisfactory because this is a rather colloquial question, even without the 的.
中国什么动物最有名is better than 中国的什么动物最有名。 中国的什么动物最有名should be "what is the most famous Chinese animal".
No, they mean the same thing. The given one is more colloquial, so I agree that it's more accurate without the 的.
The most infamous animal in this Chinese tree is the nefarious Green Mocking Owl; most times it doesn't seem to give a hoot!