2009 May 16 - 2010 January 3
"Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time" was an exhibition featuring fossils and other specimens from the Museum's collections, vivid reconstructions, and live animals. The exhibition examined the ancestry and evolution of numerous species, ranging from huge to tiny, from speedy to sloth-like, and displayed animals with oversized claws, fangs, snouts, and horns. The exhibit examined how some lineages died out while others diversified to form the groups of well-known mammals living today. Visitors were introduced to the basics of mammal evolution and biology as well as what characteristics are considered "extreme." Highlights of the exhibition included taxidermy specimens- from the egg-laying platypus to the recently extinct Tasmanian wolf- and fleshed-out models of extinct forms, such as "Ambulocetus," a "walking whale." Also on view was an entire skeleton of the giant hoofed plant-eater "Uintatherium"; the skeleton model of "Puijila darwini", a newly discovered extinct "walking seal"; a life-size model of "Indricotherium," the largest land mammal that ever lived; a life-sized model of the extinct shrew-like "Batodoinodes," the smallest extinct mammal ever; one of the oldest fossilized bats ever found; and a diorama featuring the once warm and humid swamps of Ellesmere Island, located in the high Arctic. John J. Flynn, Frick Curator of the Division of Paleontology, Dean of the Richard Gilder Graduate School, was the curator of the exhibit. The exhibit was organized by the Museum in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; Cleveland Museum of Natural History; and the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada. Funding for the exhibit was provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund; the Bill and Ann Ziff Foundation; the Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund, and Harlan B. Levine, MD and Marshall P. Levine. The exhibit was on view in Gallery 4 of the American Museum of Natural History from May 16, 2009 through January 3, 2010.
Individuals and institutions involved in the creation of the exhibition: California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada; Cleveland Museum of Natural History; John J. Flynn.
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