‘Extreme Mammals': Opening at NHMLA

Eye extinct and here-today beasties galore at the Exposition Park museum.

You would not be stepping out of bounds, nor would you be stepping on any toes, if you were to claim you've got the whole mammal thing down pat.

After all, if we might say so, you are one, and you might live with a few (family members) and you might socialize with a few (your friends) and you might even give a mammal a nightly yum-yum treat (your kitty-cat or puppy).

But would you get down on your knees, pat your thigh, and offer a yum-yum treat to beasties bearing "over-sized claws, ferocious fangs, trunk-like snouts, and huge, complicated horns"?

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Well, you might (we don't want to assume).

Mammals run a vast, glorious, and ancient gamut, and all those eye-popping traits have been, at one time or another, classifiable as "mammalian." And several of those "Extreme Mammals" will go on view at the Natural History Museum beginning on Sunday, May 14.

That's when "Extreme Mammals: Odd Features, Unusual Creatures" opens for its summer-long run. Well, nearly summer-long; it scurries away on Sunday, Sept. 10.

That should give all mammal mavens ample time to admire the re-created extinct mammals on view, like the Indricotherium, "the largest ever discovered." How much could an Indricotherium weigh? If you guessed that an adult at maturity could click in at "up to 20 tons," you get the ding-ding-ding correct buzzer. (And, yep, that's "...the weight of three or four adult African adult elephants," the planet's current biggest land mammals, if you guessed that, too.)

Reconstructions, fossils hailing from around the globe, dig-in activities, and "animated computer interactive" to-dos will fill out a lot of mammalkind's long, long story.

How long is "long, long story"? "For over 200 million years, mammals have inhabited the Earth," offers the Natural History Museum site.

That's rather longer than your favorite mammal takes to chow down on his yummy treat each night.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York organized "Extreme Mammals: Odd Features, Unusual Creatures." A trio of institutions, including the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa all collaborated on the exciting, info-packed exhibition.

Little bitty monotremes will get their moment in the exhibition, as will Columbian mammoths, proving further that the gamut for mammals is positively gargantuan and ripe for we people-type mammals committing to more mammal-marvelous exploration.

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