Drawing upon the Museum’s internationally acclaimed fossil collections, the exhibition encapsulates the last 65 million years of Earth’s history (since the extinction of the dinosaurs), using the Florida Platform as the stage on which this fascinating story is told. Learn about some of the Museum’s latest fossil research with images and specimens from the Montbrook dig site in Levy County.
- Shark Jaw Row
Enter the exhibit past shark jaws ranging in height from 2-9 feet, including the jaw of the extinct giant — Megalodon — largest shark that ever lived.
- Before Florida Formed
The exhibition begins with five extinction events described in dioramas that lead visitors onto the Florida Platform at about 65 million years ago, also known as the Dawn of the Age of Mammals.
- Walk through Time
Travel around the exhibit’s central island and witness the fossil history of Florida during the Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs. See Florida’s first land animals and an amazing parade of life through the ages. The exhibit ends with the arrival of humans in Florida near the end of the Pleistocene.
- Fossils and More
Be visually awed by full skeletal mounts and sculptures in exciting life-like postures, and touch bronze sculptures (one-sixth scale models) of what the animals looked like in life. Each time period includes numerous animals, artwork, video and more.
- Montbrook Fossil Dig Site
A display of more than 30 specimens found by volunteers and researchers educates visitors about the process of collecting and cataloging fossils from start to finish. Learn about the 5-million-year-old Montbrook dig site located in Levy County, Florida, with high-res images.
- More than 90 percent of the exhibit’s 500 fossils are real, and many were found within 100 miles of Gainesville.
- About 3 million years ago (Pliocene), North and South America became connected by a land bridge that allowed animals to move between continents. Armadillos, ground sloths and glyptodonts went north, while bears, camels, horses and dogs went south (among others!).
- Florida’s geological history spans at least 500 million years.
- A sea turtle is Florida’s oldest known vertebrate fossil — 100 million years old — from the Age of Dinosaurs (Mesozoic), when ocean covered the state.
This exhibition is made possible by a generous gift from:
- Reed and Barbara Toomey
Gallery funding provided by:
- Jon and Beverly Thompson
- State of Florida
Additional support provided by:
- AEC Charitable Trust
- Stephen and Rena Jacobson
- Cliff and Pat Jeremiah
- Roger and Anne Portell
Exhibit Blog Spotlight
Oligocene Epoch 34 million to 23 million years ago During the previous epoch, Florida was under water, but the global…
Eocene Epoch 56 million to 34 million years ago During the Eocene, the Earth was generally warmer than it is…
Pleistocene Epoch 2 million to 10,000 years ago The ice ages of the Pleistocene wreaked climatic havoc on the northern…
Pliocene Epoch 5 million to 2 million years ago The formation of a land bridge across Panama in Central America…