Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Extreme Mammals: Platypuses and Tasmanian Tigers

Australia's extinct Thylacoleo carnifex (Marsupial Lion), Thylacinus cynocephalus (Tasmanian Tiger) and the very much alive Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) star in a captivating new American exhibition, Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time, which explores the surprising and often extraordinary world of extinct and living mammals.

The Cleveland Museum exhibition also features 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.

Highlights 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 (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; and the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada.

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