4.5 billion years. 27,000 square feet of evolutionary exploration.
In the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, get to know the many creatures that have roamed the earth throughout history, from single-celled organisms to our extended human family. Experience a variety of fossils, animated videos, and interactive displays that tell the story of evolution, the process that connects all living things on Earth.
Don’t miss the Elizabeth Morse Genius Hall of Dinosaurs to get up close and personal with more than a dozen of the biggest creatures in our history. Then, experience the world of SUE the T. rex, our famous fossil with a big personality.
Learn about the evolution of life on Earth.
- The fossil skeleton of SUE, a 40-foot-long and 90-percent-complete Tyrannosaurus rex
- Megatherium, a giant ground sloth
- The Tully Monster, discovered in Illinois and our state fossil!
- A model of Lucy, a 3.2-million-year-old hominid
Step into SUE's world.
Enter a Late Cretaceous forest and come face-to-face with one of the world’s most notorious predators. Alongside SUE’s skeleton, find fossils of creatures that lived at the same time, including Triceratops, small mammals, and fish. See T. rex in motion through a media experience that recreates South Dakota 67 million years ago. Then, use sensing stations to experience how this dinosaur sounded, how its skin felt, and even how its breath smelled.
Already the largest and most complete T. rex specimen, SUE received scientific updates in 2018. We now have a more accurate picture of how a T. rex skeleton should look, including where SUE’s gastralia fit in. Resembling a second set of ribs in the belly, gastralia may have helped T. rex breathe.
Journey through time.
Earth’s evolution is about so much more than the extinction of the dinosaurs and our primate ancestors learning to walk upright. Imagine our planet in its earliest days: volcanic eruptions, crashing meteorites, and the first life forms taking shape. Begin your journey through time and explore each period of our evolution, including the Precambrian era that makes up 90 percent of the planet’s 4.5-billion-year timeline.
As the evolutionary timeline inches toward the present, you’ll examine the most recent ice age (we’re still living in it) and check out some of the most well-preserved fossils of this period. You’ll also learn why so many of today’s species are facing a mass extinction and the role you can play in their survival.
The Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet are part of the Griffin Dinosaur Experience, made possible by the generous support of the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund.