Extreme Mammals - What are Extreme Mammals | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

What are Extreme Mammals?


Think you know mammals? Think again!


As mammals ourselves, we’re familiar with this group of animals. Take a skull, teeth, four limbs, and a backbone—the basic set of mammal parts—then add millions of years of evolution. Where our similarities end, extreme features begin.


Gigantic horns! Bony body armor! Venomous feet?! Believe it or not, these are all traits of different mammals.


Come to NHMLA and meet some of your most amazing and bizarre mammalian relatives, from a ferocious dinosaur-eater to the biggest animal in the history of the world.




Dino Eater

The largest mammal known from the Mesozoic, “Age of Dinosaurs,” the Repenomamus was a mammal that ate small (and probably delicious) dinosaurs

Walking Tank

Glyptodonts are covered with thick armor made of bone that could weigh more than 1,100 pounds. Some also had bony helmets on their heads, while others had spiky, armored tails like medieval clubs.

Vicious Vegan

Despite its vicious appearance, Uintatherium waded through river banks munching on plants. One of the first giant mammals, this car-sized animal had a set of extreme features, from its bony horns and dagger-like teeth to its unusually tiny brain.

Killer Feet

A male platypus has a secret weapon: spurs on its hind feet that deliver toxic venom. Though not strong enough to endanger most humans, it helps platypuses defend themselves against predators and win battles against other males during mating season.

Walking Whale

An ancestor of whales, the Ambulocetus had four legs and could walk, but it spent a lot of its time in the water. This creature may have hunted crocodile-style, waiting quietly in the water for a passerby and then – bam! – launching a sneak attack.

Frequent Flyer

Only a few rare mammals can soar through the air. Though flying squirrels do not truly fly, they are extremely gifted gliders. The giant flying squirrel can travel the length of five football fields in one go.   

Tornado Terror

This is definitely a mammal you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. Known for its fierce temper, the Tasmanian devil has the strongest bite force for its size of any mammal. It uses its impressive chompers to eat everything from big wombats to succulent fruits.

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Extreme Mammals is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; Cleveland Museum of Natural History; and the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada.




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