What comes to mind when you think of Alabama’s history? You might think of the Selma to Montgomery marches or when Lurleen Wallace became the state’s first female governor. It’s normal to think of major events when considering the state’s history, but what about the natural history? You might not give it much thought, but Alabama has a rich natural history that dates back 500 million years. Explore that history at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Learn more about the state’s ancient natural history at this unique museum.
There is so much to explore at the museum, so what should you see? Here are some favorites.
The Basilosaurus cetoides exhibit is the most well-known exhibit at the museum. The Basilosaurus cetoides fossil was discovered in Alabama and is now the state’s official fossil. Before it was merely a fossil, it was a huge serpentine sea creature that roamed the sea around 35 million years ago. Originally believed to be a reptile, researchers later realized it was actually a type of whale. It could be up to 70 feet long. Just imagine running into that creature while out for a swim.
Ancient Sea Monsters in Alabama
Don’t have your fill of ancient sea monsters yet? You have to check out the ancient sea monster exhibit, then. You just might find the Loch Ness monster here. Seriously. The exhibit has quite a few pieces of an elasmosaur. This prehistoric reptile looks quite a bit like the Loch Ness monster. Maybe the entire Loch Ness legend rests on its now fossilized shoulders.
Skulls and Skeletons
The Skulls and Skeletons exhibit is so interesting. You will get to see skeletal structures and skulls from around the world. Just in case that isn’t cool enough, you’ll learn how to they developed the structures to function in their environments. You’ll leave the exhibit thinking more about your skull and skeleton and how these help you when you’re out in the world.
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Footprints in Stone
Back in 1999, a high school teacher discovered some interesting fossils at the surface of a coal mine in Alabama. The discovery has turned into the Footprints in the Stone exhibit. You will get to explore footprints that were created by four-legged creatures well before dinosaurs roamed the earth. These footprints were made approximately 300 million years ago, and they document the interactions between amphibians and reptiles during the Coal Age in Alabama. This exhibit is absolutely amazing.
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