NOV. 23, 2011 -- The fascinating world of mammoths and mastodons is being explored during the Missouri History Museum's newest exhibit, "Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age."
For millions of years they survived, living in temperate climates and on the wind-swept lands of the frozen north – great beasts weighing as much as eight tons and bearing tusks up to16 feet long. Mammoths and mastodons were wonderfully successful creatures of the Ice Age. They were a source of food and artistic inspiration for ancient peoples who lived in Europe, Asia and North America. But despite their size and ability to adapt to different habitats, these early cousins of the elephant eventually went extinct – leaving humans an abundant fossil record.
"Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age," an exploration of these animals, opens at the Missouri History Museum on Nov. 25, and runs through April 15, 2012. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey back to the time when these huge creatures roamed the Earth.
The 6,000-square-foot exhibition is geared for all ages and includes a full-scale replica of a Columbian mammoth, one of the largest mammals to roam North America (standing nearly 14 feet tall at the shoulder) and a short-faced bear (now extinct). Visitors can see large-scale projections, walk through dioramas, explore virtual experiences, and touch and examine skeletons. Museum visitors will discover answers to many questions, such as how these creatures balanced their heavy tusks and how much a mammoth ate in a day. Also showcased are rare and evocative objects including some of the oldest art in existence, huge skulls and tusks, and weird and wonderful mammoth relatives – including dwarf mammoths.
Created by Chicagoʼs Field Museum, Mammoths and Mastodons is on a multi-year tour of venues in North America and overseas.
"Mammoths and Mastodons makes natural history much more real to people. The exhibition demonstrates how close we can come to knowing what these animals were like," said Daniel C. Fisher, lead curator of the exhibition and professor of geological sciences at the University of Michigan.
Additional curatorial support for the exhibition comes from Bill Simpson, collections manager of The Field Museumʼs world-renowned fossil vertebrates collection.
"The Ice Age world was, geologically, just a moment ago. This exhibition will take visitors back to that world," Simpson said.
Admission to Mammoths and Mastodons is $15 for adults; $13 for seniors (62+)/students/military/groups; and $10 for children (ages 4-12). Children 3 and younger are free. Group reservations (minimum of 10 individuals) are available by calling 314-361-9017 or 800-916-8212. Pre-registered school groups are free; call 314-361-9017. Missouri History Museum members receive complimentary admission to the exhibition based upon level of membership. Additional member tickets are $7.50. As a "thank you" for their continued financial support through the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District, residents of St. Louis City and St. Louis County enjoy free admission to Mammoths and Mastodons Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Missouri History Museum is located at 5700 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, Mo., 63112. For ticket information, call 314-361-9017.