AZ Museum of Natural History opens mammal extinction exhibit

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A new exhibit opened at the Arizona Museum of Natural History (AZMNH). It is called “New Mammal Hall.” The exhibit focuses on the mass extinction of large mammals.

The gallery features large displays, videos and questions that place the events of the past alongside modern life. Guests will see an American Mastodon (a relative of the elephant), the American Lion, an apex predator that was 25% larger than the modern lion, and the American Horse, a stocky horse that resembled a zebra in proportions. All of these animals once lived here in Arizona.

So why aren’t they here today? Simon Tipene Adlam, AZMNH’s Director, and Dr. Robert McCord, the Curator of Paleontology, joined Arizona Horizon to answer this question.

“Mastodons probably weren’t in the valley, there’s no evidence of them,” Dr. McCord said. “The American Lion is the top carnivore and the American Horse could not survive the Sonoran Desert.”

The museum is evidence-based and they accumulate research over the years.

According to Dr. McCord, they are learning more information on the many periods of climate change and extinction.

“It’s very sensory so you hear noises of these animals, we are also autism certified so if you are on the spectrum we have spaces where you can take a break,” Adlam said.

AZMNH is the only museum in the United States that is certified for autism.

The gallery opened on Sept. 30, 2023. Visit their website for ticket prices and hours of operation.

Simon Tipene Adlam, Director, Arizona Museum of Natural History
Dr. Robert McCord, Curator of Paleontology, Arizona Museum of Natural History

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