Prehistoric Mammals

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Learn about prehistoric mammals and see images of the specimens in our display cases.

Visit the museum in person to see the specimens in their cases and view our prehistoric mammals mural on the outside of our NHM Learning Laboratory.

Herbivores and the Grass Roots Movement

Herbivores, including oreodonts, camels, and early horned ruminants, adapted to fit the expanding grasslands 50 million years ago.

Museum Case Index: 
Case #16 - Grasers

Horses - Before the Cart

Fossils of ancient horses such as Merychippus, Hyracotherium and Pliohippus are shown and placed on an evolutionary family tree.

Read more:
Horses Description and Visuals

Museum Case Index:
Case #15 - Horses

Carnivores - Diversify and Conquer

Carnivores such as saber-toothed cats and dire wolves overtook Creodonts as the top predators in the Oligocene, 35 million years ago.

Museum Case Index:
View Case #14 - Carnivores

Giants - What's the Big Idea?

Some mammals such as mammoths, beavers, sloths, and rhinoceroses reached gigantic sizes during the Cenozoic, while other animals isolated on islands became pygmies.

Museum Case Index: 
Case #18 - Giants

Pleistocene Extinctions - Close Encounters with Mankind

During the later Pleistocene, somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000 years ago, humans began migrating into North America. This exhibit examines the impact that humans may have had on North American mammals including mammoths, American lions and musk oxen.

Museum Case Index: 
Case #19 - Pleistocene

Proboscideans - Unforgettable Faces

Over 500 species of elephants, mammoths and mastodons have existed since the beginning of the Cenozoic, although only two remain today. Learn the differences between mammoths and mastodons.

Museum Case Index:
Case #17 - Proboscideans