Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet & SUE the T. rex

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Included with Basic admission

All ages

Alert

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. Then, experience the world of SUE the T. rex, our famous fossil with a big personality.  

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 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
A group of people stand around a display case with a dinosaur skull in it. Behind them, a large mural depicts a T. rex walking through a forested landscape. Its mouth is slightly open and its bright green eyes seem to be looking right at you.

Visitors see SUE's fossil skull alongside a mural that recreates what SUE's world might've looked like 67 million years ago.

Martin Baumgaertner

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.

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.

Learn More About How We Study SUE

Sharing #SUEsWorld

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.

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

Discover More At The Field