Page 1

The Field Museum Presents Evolving Planet A Permanent Exhibition The Field Museum’s permanent exhibition, Evolving Planet, takes visitors on an aweinspiring journey through 4 billion years of life on Earth, from single-celled organisms to towering dinosaurs and our extended human family. Unique fossils, animated videos, hands-on interactive displays, and recreated sea- and landscapes help tell the compelling story of evolution—the single process that connects everything that has ever lived on Earth. Evolving Planet illuminates both time-tested and emerging ideas about the evolution of life with state-of-the-art exhibit tools. “This will be the most comprehensive, up-to-date telling of the story of life’s evolution anywhere in the U.S., and arguably the most immersive” says Richard Kissel, the exhibition’s content specialist. Kissel points to a spectacular animated screen that surrounds visitors with 500-million-year-old sea creatures: “It’s like SCUBA diving in the Cambrian seas,” he grins. For many visitors, a highlight of their journey through Evolving Planet will be the Mesozoic Era—the age of dinosaurs. It’s a gargantuan display, with authentic fossils and detailed casts spanning the era from Herrerasaurus, one of the earliest dinosaurs, to the ferocious meateaters of the Late Cretaceous Period. Among the long-necked sauropods are a 72-foot-long Apatosaurus; original bones from the Brachiosaurus that stands outside the Museum, and the 18foot-long youngster of a new dinosaur, Rapetosaurus, discovered recently in Madagascar. The armored Stegosaurus is here, as well as the horned ceratopsians and a pachycephalosaur. Representing the plant-eating ornithopods is a Parasaurolophus, mounted in a life-like pose. While Sue, the Field’s premier theropod (meat-eater), holds court downstairs in the Museum’s main hall, Sue’s world is represented in Evolving Planet by a variety of animal and plant fossils that were found along with the T. rex skeleton, including crocodiles, lizards, fish, and other dinosaur bones. Sue’s close cousin, Daspletosaurus, hunches over the body of a duck-billed hadrosaur. Nearby are another, more distant cousin, Allosaurus; the raptor Deinonychus; and Cryolophosaurus, one of the first dinosaurs found in Antarctica. “You can see why we say The Field Museum is the place for dinosaurs in Chicago,” says Kissel. It’s also the place to dig deeper into the subject. Visitors will discover what makes a dinosaur a dinosaur, what was happening to the Earth’s climate and land masses during their time,


and much more. There’s a special activity area for junior dinosaur fans, with lots of interactive displays, a chance to find out what dino skin and bones felt like, and answers to all those questions kids ask about dinosaurs—from what they ate to how they reproduced. While the Field Museum’s dinosaur collection is an integral part of Evolving Planet, it does not conclude it. Over the course of the 6 known mass extinctions, surviving species diversified and developed new features that enabled them to occupy new roles in their altered world. Visitors will learn about the climate changes and environmental challenges that led to the diversification of mammals—and will discover, for example, how hoofed land mammals evolved into ocean-dwelling whales…and why two predators, separated by a vast sea and 25 million years, evolved the same saber-like teeth. And they’ll learn about the origins of Homo sapiens, including the wide array of hominid species that comprise the many branches of our family tree. One of the most fascinating stories is that of Lucy, an early member of our family from the species Australopithecus afarensis. The life-like reconstruction made especially for this exhibition reveals a creature as close to apes as to modern humans. A cast of Lucy’s skeleton shows why her discovery in 1974 was so significant: the shape of her pelvis and legs indicates she walked upright, like us; but her brain was small, her skull the size of a chimpanzee’s. It was this discovery that convinced scientists that humans began to walk upright before our brains grew large, and not the other way around. The Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust is the generous sponsor of the Genius Hall of Dinosaurs. Evolving Planet is made possible, in part, by support from Mr. James L. Alexander; Mrs. Noel Kaplan; Mr. and Mrs. John W. Rowe; Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs; “Public Museum Capital Grant Program,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Museum; U.S. Department of Energy; U.S. Department of Education; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Public Programs For updates on public programs and special events, please call (312) 665-7400. Evolving Planet on the Web A Web site accompanying Evolving Planet offers in-depth information on evolution, a detailed teachers’ guide, and links to related Web sites. Visit www.fieldmuseum.org/evolvingplanet. Admission Admission to Evolving Planet is free with general admission to The Field Museum ($15 for adults, $10 for children 3-11, $12 seniors and students with ID). Discounts are available for Chicago residents. Visit www.fieldmuseum.org or call (312) 922-9410 for details. To purchase tickets, call 866-FIELD-03 (866-343-5303), visit www.fieldmuseum.org, or come to the Museum’s box office. Special rates are available for tour operators and groups of 15 or more. Call our Group Sales office toll-free at 888-FIELD-85 (888-343-5385). Hours and General Information The Field Museum is open daily except Christmas Day; Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last tickets are sold at 4 p.m. For general Museum information call (312) 922-9410 or visit our interactive web site at www.fieldmuseum.org. Location and Travel Information The Field Museum is located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, on CTA bus lines #6, #12, and #146, and close to other routes and the Metra electric and South Shore lines. An indoor parking garage is located just steps from the main entrance. For more travel information, call the Illinois Department of Transportation, (312) 368-4636, or the RTA Travel Center Hotline, (312) 8367000.

# # #

Evolving Planet Press Release  

The Field Museum Presents Evolving Planet A Permanent Exhibition