Exhibit Museum of Natural History Evolution of Whales Exhibition

The Exhibit Museum has unveiled the world’s most complete exhibit on the evolution of whales in 1997. Since then, many new discoveries have been made. Now we are updating the exhibit with the latest evidence and ideas about whale evolution. World renowned paleontologist Philip Gingerich, Professor and Director of the U-M Museum of Paleontology, is curator of the exhibit.

Basilosaurus, Exhibit Museum of Natural History

Scientists long before Darwin wondered why whales, which are mammals, not fish, live in the sea. The discovery of the tiny vestigial hind limbs of Basilosaurus was a major breakthrough in understanding the evolutionary history of whales. Evidence suggests that land-living mammals waded into ancient oceans 50 to 40 million years ago to catch plentiful fish for food. Over time, such animals adapted to an ever-more aquatic lifestyle until by 40 to 35 million years ago, all ancient whales were fully aquatic.

The centerpiece of the updated exhibit will be Basilosaurus, a dramatic, 50-foot specimen that will swim through the air in the Exhibit Museum’s Hall of Evolution. The exhibit will also include new specimens of Maiacetus, an amphibious early whale which returned to land to give birth. Visitors will also see new information panels and video interviews with Dr. Gingerich. With the addition of Basilosaurus and the other ancient whales, the University of Michigan will have one of the most up-to-date whale evolution exhibits in the world.

The Exhibit Museum of Natural History is a dynamic, evolving organization committed to promoting the understanding and appreciation of the natural world and our place in it. We accomplish this through creative educational programs and exhibits for the benefit of the University community, school groups, and the general public. The Museum provides a window onto the research in Natural Sciences conducted at the University of Michigan.

Exhibit Museum of Natural History
University of Michigan
1109 Geddes Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1079
Telephone: (734) 764-0480 Fax: (734) 647-2767
General inquiries by e-mail: [email protected]

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published.