After a five-year-long restoration and renovation of the original 1913 building which houses the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, a new permanent exhibition has been opened to the public. Boasting creative collaboration between architects, artist, scientists and specialists, the museum has created a visually stunning, interactive and comprehensive narrative from the evolution of mammals to impacts of climate change. As the museum continues to re-imagine its space, eventually this exhibit will show in tandem with a newly created dinosaur hall in 2011 and an exhibit on Southern California’s natural and cultural history opening in 2012.
Age of Mammals is the first permanent museum exhibit to trace the 65 million years of evolution. From the extinction of the dinosaurs to the rise of humans, the narrative unfolds within the context of significant changes in the Earth’s geology and climate. The museum has put forth a new way of telling the human story with a lasting message for viewers on human impact and climate change.
Some sights visitors can expect to see while touring the museum include the La Brea horse, Simi Valley mastodon, saber-toothed cat and the mysterious ancient horned brontothere, or “thunder beast,” all located on the ground-floor installation. In addition, visitors will see how certain types of African apes began walking on two feet as the equatorial forests gave way to open grasslands some seven million years ago.
Then, on the mezzanine level, Age of Mammals will reveal the tools and methods that scientists use to reconstruct the past. A fossil displays of a newly discovered extinct species of sea cow that lived along the California coastline some 10 to 12 million years ago will delve into how a specimen like this is discovered, studied, identified and reconstructed.