Did you know that the Indricotherium at 15 feet tall is the largest land mammal that ever lived? Or did you realize that the Batodonoides, with an estimated body weight of 1.3 grams is the smallest? (It’s tiny enough to be a pencil topper!) Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know these facts or if you’ve never encountered these animals at the zoo or on a safari. You can’t as they are extinct.
But you can meet them and take your students on a field trip to meet them at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Those mammals and even more exotic ones are featured at the new exhibit Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time. Extraordinary creatures extinct and still living are on display there.
It’s an great way to show students rather than tell them how mammals evolved across the many continents and why. In the High Arctic for example, scientists found the bones of a “walking seal”. It’s called that because it has webbed feet instead of flippers. You’ll see the skeletal remains of the new discovery on display.
My favorite animal to see was the Macrauchenia, an odd mix of a camel and giraffe in appearance anyway. It's extinct now but used to live in South America.
Here is a photo of the Macrauchenia.
There are also examples of monotremes, mammals that lay eggs outside of the body and feed their young milk from ducts that ooze the liquid out. A short beaked echidna is part of the exhibit for students to exam.
Here's a photo of the Indricotherium.
The Extreme Mammals exhibit is at the Fernbank now through August 18, 2013. The Fernbank has put together a useful field trip packet where highlights of the exhibition are outlined in sections.
It also identifies the Georgia Performance standards. Got questions about the exhibit, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a look at our slideshow of pictures from the exhibit.