Fossil Plants and Animals: The Conquest of Land

April 17, 1980 – April 27, 2014

National Museum of Natural History
10th Street and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, East Wing, near Dinosaurs Hall Floor Plan

This exhibition focuses on the earliest plants and animals that evolved the complex adaptations needed to live on land. In an animated video, evoking television coverage of the first lunar landing, characters Frank Anchorfish and Arthur Pod explain the characteristics plants and animals needed to pioneer the harsh, dry terrestrial environment. Just beyond an arbor formed by a diorama of the first forests are still more fossils: specimens of a 16-foot fossil of an early tree, Callixyon; other fossil trees and smaller plants from the ancient coal forests of North America.

Also included are the skeletons of many early amphibians and reptiles. Completing the section are displays on the seed and the amniotic egg—the two evolutionary innovations that secured the conquest of land for plants and animals. A fossilized dinosaur egg is on view.

Related book: Fossil Plants