Hall of Ancient Life

Life in Oklahoma has existed for quite a long time – over 4 billion years, to be exact. Step into the past as you tour Oklahoma’s rich prehistory, from the formation of the planet through the last Ice Age in the Siegfried Family Hall of Ancient Life. In this remarkably detailed gallery, the past comes to life through spectacular models, interactive tools, detailed dioramas and exhibits featuring the paleontology collection’s most impressive specimens. Begin your journey by gazing upon a cutaway model of Earth as you discover how our planet was formed. Uncover the history of plate tectonics as you learn about the techniques scientists use to date rocks and fossils. Touch Oklahoma’s prehistoric roots as you run your hands along a large meteorite. Explore a piece of the oldest surface rock found in Oklahoma or feel the cratered surface of stromatolites – dome-shaped rocks that were produced by one of the earliest forms of life on the planet. As you pass between a Paleozoic and Jurassic realm, explore the exotic world of a Pennsylvanian coal swamp forest, packed with plants and animals from nearly 300 million years ago. Gaze upon dragonflies with wingspans nearly two feet wide, or pet the ridged back of the Arthropleura, a six-foot-long ancestor of the modern millipede. Look out! Two dinosaurs fight to the death in “The Clash of the Titans”, the gallery’s centerpiece exhibit. The world’s largest Apatosaurus extends his long neck as he faces a most fearsome, Oklahoma predator, the Saurophaganax. Flee the battle and take a ride in the museum’s glass dinovators. There, you will meet the Apatosaurus eye to eye. Continue on your prehistorical voyage and watch as a mother Tenontosaurus protects her young from a pair of marauding Deinonychus. Then behold the breathtaking, fully articulated skeleton of the Pentaceratops, whose 10.5-foot skull holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest. Finally, witness the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago as you enter the Cenozoic Era. Stroll up to the massive skeletons of the ancient mammals of Oklahoma’s Ice Age as you pass between worlds. As you end your voyage, walk beside a Columbian mammoth or Arctodus, the short-faced bear. But watch out! The Smilodon saber-toothed cat is always on the prowl.