Age of Mammals | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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Age of Mammals

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Age of Mammals Curriculum

Developed by teachers, for teachers, these interdisciplinary curricula were designed specifically for Age of Mammals.  Find complete Pre, During and Post Visit lesson plans below, complete with worksheets and printable pictures for the classroom and the museum, and even teacher assessment rubrics!

Kindergarten and Grade 1

What Makes a Mammal a Mammal?

Download and print these Science and English/Language Arts lessons for Kindergarten and 1st grade and find out what makes a mammal! Then visit the museum's new Age of Mammals hall to test your knowledge.

Kindgergarten View PDF >

Grade 1 View PDF >

Grade 2 and Grade 3

The Case of the Mystery Mammal

Download and print these Science and English/Language Arts lessons to solve the mystery with your students.  Then visit the museum's new Age of Mammals hall to test your hypothesis!

Grade 2 View PDF >

Grade 3 View PDF >

Grade 4 and Grade 5

Ancient Environments and Ancient Animals &
A Prehistoric Story

Grade 4

Download and print this Science and English/Language Arts lesson and turn your class into ancient animals.  Then visit the Museum's new hall, Age of Mammals, to complete the transformation!

Grade 4 View PDF >  Download Zip File >


Grade 5

Calling all writers and actors! Download and print this English Language Arts and VAPA lesson, and your entire class will be transported to ancient environments. Then visit the Museum's new hall, Age of Mammals, for even more ancient inspiration.

Grade 5  View PDF >  Download Zip File >

Grade 6

Tectonic Plates and Moving Mammals

Download and print this Science and English/Language Arts lesson to find out how Earth's tectonic plates moved and why the animals did too.  Then visit the museum's new hall, Age of Mammals, to see the plates in action and the animals up close.

View PDF >

Grade 7 and Grade 8

Exploring Evolution


Grade 7

Download and print this Science and English/Language Arts lesson and discover the secrets of mammalian evolution.  Then visit our new Age of Mammals hall to see if your students come to the same conclusions as our museum scientists!

Grade 7 View PDF > Download Zip File >


Grade 8

Why have mammals evolved? Dig up some answers in your classroom and in our new Age of Mammals hall with this Science and English/Language Arts curriculum.

Grade 8 View PDF > Download Zip File >

High School Biology

Continents Move, Climates Change, Mammals Evolve.

Use this High School Biology curriculum and our new Age of Mammals hall to see if your students come to the same conclusions as our museum scientists!

View PDF >

Exhibit Highlights

Between the many taxidermy and skeleton specimens, and the fun and informative interactives in Age of Mammals, there's a lot to see in this epic exhibition. But don't let that slow you down. Whether a quick view or an immersive educational experience is what you seek, Age of Mammals has a lot to offer. What are some of the show's highlights? Read on and find out!

The amazing story of mammals.

For our tourists and locals

Many of the most remarkable specimens in this exhibit called SoCal home. The Simi Valley mastodon stomped around the area through which the Ronald Reagan Freeway now runs; the mysterious paleoparadoxiid was fossilized in ocean sediments forming modern-day Laguna Hills; and both the giant jaguar and saber-toothed cat stalked their prey right in the heart of what we now know as the Miracle Mile.

California and Paleontology

Be a paleontologist! Besides the amazing taxidermy and skeleton specimens you’ll encounter in Age of Mammals, the Museum’s scientists and exhibition designers have created fun, interactive kiosks that will make you think you’re out in a fossil field, or inside a paleontology lab like the one here at the NHMLA. You’ll be able to “excavate” the paleoparadoxiid bones, figure out where they belong, and assemble the skeleton yourself!

Orange County Native

A most mysterious mammal. Paleoparadoxiid, or “Mystery Mammal,” is a previously unknown species of mammal that lived in what is now coastal Southern California. The specimen on display in Age of Mammals is the first known individual of its kind, uncovered in Orange County, CA, during construction of a golf course. Paleoparadoxiids were herbivorous, four legged, amphibious creatures, and in life they probably looked and acted like hippos. Their closest living relatives are elephants, sea cows and manatees.

Global Climate Change

We hear so much about global warming in the news because we’re currently experiencing a period of dramatic climate change. Age of Mammals presents a long-range perspective to our contemporary situation. Earth’s climate has been changing for millions of years, and those changes have influenced the evolution of mammals — our evolution. When Antarctica was isolated through continental shift millions of years ago, the Earth got cooler and dryer. Vegetation changes came in the form of fewer forests and more grasslands, and then mammals, our ancestors included, evolved to their changing environments. And came to become the remarkable range of species we witness on Earth today.

He's from the Valley

Mastodons and mammoths were not the same. Although the American mastodon was a distant relative of mammoths, they were distinctly different animals. The Mastodon you’ll see in Age of Mammals stood at nearly the height of a mammoth. The two animals had different diets, and therefore evolved different  types of  teeth, too. The mastodon's simple and low-crowned teeth tell us it was a browser; it tended to eat leaves and twigs. Mammoths (like the Columbian mammoth on view at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits) were grazers; their tall teeth were ideal for munching on grass, much like present-day cows.

Make a Difference

What We Can Do to Combat the Effects of Global Climate Change

The world is undergoing some of its greatest changes since the demise of the dinosaurs. The population of the planet is increasing at an unprecedented rate, having gone from 1 billion people at the start of 1800 to 6.7 billion by 2000. As a direct consequence our climate is warming from the increased amount of greenhouse gases which are the by-products of energy production to service those 6.7 billion people. What can we do?

Can ordinary people help to slow global warming? If we act together, we can. To put less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we should burn less fossil fuel (oil, coal, gas).

Here are a few ideas for starters

Plant a tree whenever you can

We can all offset our carbon emissions by paying a small annual fee to support tree-planting programs. These trees may then take up the equivalent of your carbon emissions. Visit

Shop wisely

Buy locally made or grown products. Trucking or shipping goods from far away uses precious fossil fuels, and local products are often better anyhow.

Drive less

Get the whole family to walk, ride bikes, and use public transportation whenever possible.

Switch off electricity

Spend less time on TV shows and computer games, and play more outside. Kick a football, walk the dog, throw a Frisbee. Unplug TVs, stereos, computers, monitors and printers at the wall when you’re not using them (they still use lots of electricity when on standby), and track your family’s power bill.

Ask Mom and Dad to put in low-energy lightbulbs (and save money on bills)

When it’s cold, warm yourself, not the house

Instead of using central heating, wear a sweater.

Take shorter showers

Heating water requires energy. Get a waterwise (low-flow) shower head.

Save trees, especially rainforest trees

Use less paper, and recycle the paper products you do use. Buy goods with Forest Stewardship Council certification whenever possible.

Eat less meat.

Livestock contribute to global warming by emitting methane when they burp or fart. (It’s true!)

Ask your parents what they are doing to help.

Will they put in solar panels or pay for green energy? What’s being done at their workplaces? We need everyone to act.

Ask your teachers what your school is doing as well


Visit green websites for more ideas

Additional information

General references for adults about climate change and its mitigation:

Learning about climate change from the latest official reports:
IPCC website:

For children:

For teachers:

About renewable energy and cash rebates for your home:

Offset your annual carbon emissions by tree-planting programs that take up carbon dioxide:, (a nonprofit organization)

Age of Mammals - Photo Gallery

Age of Mammals tells an epic, 65-million-year-old story, and the pictures in the gallery below help to illustrate what's in store for visitors to this marvelous exhibition. Nothing will substitute for a visit to the bright, naturally lit, two-story gallery itself, but these images represent some of the more interesting specimens you'll encounter, as well as get a preview of some of the interactives.

Image Gallery


Age of Mammals

Age of Mammals tells an epic evolutionary story that spans 65 million years! But its theme can be distilled into just six words: Continents move. Climates change. Mammals evolve.

They’re six loaded words, however. It's the first permanent museum exhibit to trace mammal evolution — from the extinction of large dinosaurs to the rise of humans — within the context of epochal changes in the Earth’s geology and climate,” says Dr. John Harris, lead curator for the exhibition. “We believe this new way of telling our story is not only exciting, but it also provides a powerful message. It puts climate change and human impact on our environment into the context of long-term geological and evolutionary processes.”

Seeing the Big Picture

Our diorama halls are iconic, and they’re not going anywhere. But in addition to providing these snapshots, these habitats at one moment in time, the Museum is newly focused on telling a more complicated, "big picture" story of mammal life. We want to tell our visitors what we know about mammal evolution in a larger context, and why we
know it.  

Mammal Diversity

Age of Mammals features a total of 240 specimens, including 38 articulated mammal skeletons, illustrating to visitors the wondrous diversity of mammal life as it's evolved over the past 65 million years. Taxidermy specimens of extant species include a sprinting cheetah alongside a similarly posed cheetah skeleton, an alpaca, a zebra and more!