Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Included with Basic admission

All ages

Included with Basic admission

All ages

About the Exhibit

4.6 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 hands-on 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.

Heads-up! Starting December 21, 2018, SUE the T. rex will have a new home in Evolving Planet. Planning a visit over the holidays? Here’s what to know before you go.

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View of Evolving Planet exhibition, with two people looking at a digital screen. In the foreground are a display of fossils and a projection showing what Cambrian oceans might have looked like.

Visitors dive into learning about the life forms that inhabited oceans during the Cambrian period.

Morgan Anderson

Learn about the evolution of life on Earth.

Exhibition highlights:

  • The skeleton of Rapetosaurus krausei, an 18-foot juvenile sauropod discovered in Madagascar 
  • 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

Discover how mammals have evolved, and get a look at early horses, rhinoceroses, and more.

Morgan Anderson

Evolving Planet features four lifelike models of early humans by sculptor Élisabeth Daynès, including this one of the hominid known as “Lucy.” 

Morgan Anderson

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 4.6-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.

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