RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


Last day of Extreme Mammals

natural history museum

It’s been a while since I posted anything on WordPress. Several reasons, which I won’t go into! Let’s just say I needed a rest.

So many things have happened since my last post that I decided to work backwards with the latest happenings first, for the most part.

I seem to have a habit of leaving things to the last minute. This includes museum exhibits. Often I attend exhibits on the last day even though I know about them months in advance. So, my visit to Extreme Mammals at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (NHM for short) was on September 10, the last day.

I didn’t know for sure I was really going up until about an hour before I left for the train. But as I’m a member I hate to miss any exhibits that are part of my membership. So I went on my own (except for the company of my Inner Child, of course).

From the website:  For over 200 million years, mammals have inhabited the Earth. In this epic evolutionary journey, mammals lived with—and even ate—dinosaurs, swam in the ocean, flew in the air, and became the fastest land animals of all time!

natural history museum

The photo at the top of the page is of an Indricotherium, the largest mammal to ever walk the earth. It weighed up to 20 tons and lived about 23 million years ago. However, a larger mammal lives today: the Blue Whale, ten to twenty times the size of the Indricotheriume . It can grow that large due to the buoyancy of water. The Blue Whale is the largest animal, mammal or otherwise, ever known!

natural history museum

Batodonoides was the smallest mammal, living about 50 million years ago. It could climb up your pencil (if you were around 50 million years ago and there were pencils) and was as light as a dollar bill.

As the sign states, there are more than 5,400 species of mammals alive today.


This sign board  explains a lot!


This Synthetocerus tricornatus doesn’t look terribly cuddly. In all instances, horns evolved in animals whose ancestors had no headgear at all.



For millions of years plant-eating glyptodonts the size of cars roamed North and South America. Their closest living relatives are armadillos.



This Macrauchenia was known for being very nosy… sorry…


Yes, a walking whale!




Mammoths living on the islands off the coast of Ventura (just north of Los Angeles) were half the size of mammoths on the mainland due to their isolation, lack of big predators and limited food resources.



Jaws of a Columbian Mammoth and a Pygmy Mammoth.


Ellsmere Island, a mere 600 miles from the North Pole, 50 million years ago. A great stopping place for a cruise.


Beautifully preserved Scarrittia lived in Argentina 29 to 24 million years ago.


Paleontologists have unearthed more than three million fossils at La Brea Tar Pits (next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, shells, and plants.


Ninety-nine percent of all mammals and other species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct.

Pretty soon it’s going to be 100% including you and me! Maybe not quite 100%… the cockroaches will survive…





Spidies, dragonflies and lions


It’s that time of year again for the annual Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. This year I was able to get the earliest time slot for my visit, 10:00am. Last year my slot was at 2:00pm (you can see that post here) and I wondered if a morning visit would be better.

los angeles county natural history museumAs it turns out I think the afternoon was a better time. It seemed like last year there were more and different kinds of spiders hanging out!

los angeles county natural history museum

I asked one of the guides and she mentioned that in the afternoon is when most of the spiders like to spend time repairing their webs and generally tidying up. In the morning they have just had breakfast.

I had intended to just pop in, say hello to the arachnids, then jump back on the train to go home as there were a lot of things I needed to work on.

los angeles county natural history museum

But once I was there anyway, I decided to wander through the Nature Garden. I am a member so (other than my $45 annual membership) I have free access to the museum.

I love spending time in the garden as there is something different to see with each visit.

This beautiful orange dragonfly (above) caught my attention.

los angeles county natural history museum

Then I saw this couple swooping crazily around the pond. They finally settled on this leaf to consummate their nuptials. Baby dragonflies coming soon?

los angeles county natural history museum

The original couple abandoned the leaf and moved on to a twig that was floating by.

Word got around and pretty soon another courting couple arrived. A dragonfly orgy.

I was using my 18 – 135 telephoto lens from afar and had to crop the photo down quite a bit so the quality is not that great.

los angeles county natural history museum


los angeles county natural history museum

You can see why I wanted to take a photo of this bush. Even with the dried up brown flowers it is still spectacular. And you may remember I was visiting Catalina Island recently. (See post here.) On this trip we didn’t go far enough inland to see any specimens. But now I know about it, I’ll be sure to look for it next time.

los angeles county natural history museum

I was very happy to see this fountain working again. On my last visit it was shut off and I was afraid it was a permanent situation because of the drought. But I see no reason why fountains with recycled water cannot continue to run. City birds (and other creatures) have come to rely on human-created water features. And I love to see water fountains myself.

california science center

Next door at the Exposition Park Rose Garden this normally exuberant fountain has been silenced while surrounded by well-watered, green lawns. What is wrong with this picture?


Meanwhile, back at the Natural History Museum, I wandered into the Gem and Mineral Hall. From the NHM website: The Gem and Mineral Hall displays more than 2,000 spectacular specimens within two large galleries that comprise what is considered to be one of the finest exhibits of gems and minerals in the world.

If you click on this link there is a good photo of the hall. My photo above is of the Quartz Crystal Ball, one of the largest flawless quartz crystal balls in the world at 10.9 inch (27.7 cm) diameter and weighing 65 lbs (29.5 kg).

los angeles county natural history museum

Photo of just one wall in the hall. Whenever I visit the museum I never miss the opportunity to see the gems and minerals. I never cease to be amazed at the different varieties and configurations.

los angeles county natural history museum

Some photographers travel thousands of miles at great expense to shoot pictures of wild beasts. I only have to swipe my TAP card on the Expo Line for a 20-minute ride to NHM! These black rhinos were kind enough to pose for me.

los angeles county natural history museum

And these African lions are having way too much fun.

The dioramas in the African Mammal Hall (and North American Mammals) have been maintained since the 1920s. I still have vivid memories of seeing them the first time I visited the museum in the 1960s (the first time my family moved to LA). Although exhibits like these probably wouldn’t be created today, they stand the test of time and I enjoy the opportunity to study the animals up close and personal.

At this point in time I was ready to go home.

And it so happens I’ll be back at the museum on Sunday meeting some friends for the Mummies Exhibit.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!