Cleveland Museum of Natural History Opens Extreme Mammals

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History presents Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time, open through April 17, 2011.

A captivating new exhibition, Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time, explores the surprising and often extraordinary world of extinct and living mammals. Featuring spectacular fossils and other world-class Museum specimens, vivid reconstructions, and live animals, the exhibition examines the ancestry and evolution of numerous species, ranging from huge to tiny, from speedy to sloth-like, and displays animals with oversized claws, fangs, snouts and horns.

Ranging from the familiar to the wildly exotic, mammals represent a widely diverse class of vertebrates. Extreme Mammals offers visitors a fun and intriguing opportunity to learn about 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 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.” Visitors will encounter an entire skeleton of the giant hoofed plant-eater Uintatherium, with its dagger-like teeth and multiple horns; the skeleton model of Puijila darwini, a newly discovered extinct “walking seal” from the High Arctic with webbed feet instead of flippers; a life-size model of Indricotherium, the largest land mammal that ever lived; one of the oldest fossilized bats ever found; and an impressive diorama featuring the once warm and humid swamps and forests of Ellesmere Island, located in the High Arctic, about 50 million years ago.

Extreme Mammals is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (, in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; and the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada.

Image: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

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