Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fernbank Museum Reveals the Most Extreme Mammals of All Time

Beginning March 2, 2013, visitors to Fernbank Museum of Natural History will stand in the shadow of the largest land mammal that ever lived—the 16-foot-tall Indricotherium. They’ll peek at a Bumblebee bat so tiny, it weighs about as much as a dime. They’ll gasp at animals with oversized claws, fangs, snouts and horns. A thrilling adventure, the new special exhibition Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time places Fernbank Museum visitors face-to-face with a wondrous array of extraordinary creatures.

This fascinating exhibition explores the surprising and often extraordinary world of extinct and living mammals. Featuring spectacular fossils, unusual specimens and vivid reconstructions, the exhibition examines the ancestry and evolution of numerous species, ranging from huge to tiny, and from speedy to sloth-like.

Mammals, including humans, are some of the most fascinating and extraordinary creatures that have ever lived. Extreme Mammals offers visitors a fun and intriguing opportunity to learn how life evolved, why animals may – despite sharing some key characteristics – look and behave so differently from one another, and how there can be such extraordinary diversity within a single group.

Extreme Mammals examines how some lineages died out while others diversified to form the groups of well-known mammals living today. Highlights of the exhibition include historic taxidermy specimens—from the egg-laying platypus to the recently extinct Tasmanian wolf (also known as Tasmanian tiger)—and fleshed-out models of spectacular extinct forms, such as Ambulocetus, a “walking whale.”

Along the way, visitors also encounter an entire skeleton of the giant hoofed plant-eater Uintatherium, with its dagger-like teeth and multiple horns. They’ll gasp at the skeleton model of Puijila darwini, a newly discovered, extinct species of “walking seal” from the High Arctic with webbed feet instead of flippers. They’ll gaze at a life-size model of Indricotherium, the largest land mammal that ever lived. Visitors will be amazed by one of the oldest fossilized bats ever found. And they’ll be captivated by an impressive diorama featuring the once warm and humid swamps and forests of Ellesmere Island, located in the high Arctic 50 million years ago.

Through the use of dynamic media displays, animated computer interactives, hands-on activities, touchable fossils, casts, taxidermy specimens, and more, the exhibition highlights distinctive mammalian qualities and illuminates the shared ancestry that unites these diverse creatures.

Extreme Mammals is on view at Fernbank Museum from March 2 through August 18, 2013*. The exhibition is included with Museum admission. Tickets are $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for students/seniors, $15.50 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and younger, and free for museum members. Value Pass combo tickets include Museum admission as well as an IMAX film, which include Alaska: Spirit of the Wild through March 14, 2013* and Flight of the Butterflies through May 9, 2013*. (*All dates are subject to change.)
Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. For visitor information and tickets, call 404.929.6300 or visit


Photos courtesy of AMNH, New York.

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