National Museum of Natural History
10th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Ocean Focus Gallery, Sant Ocean Hall Floor Plan
Stunning fossils from Angola reveal an ancient ocean ecosystem where giant reptiles ruled the waves. After the South Atlantic Ocean basin formed 120 million years ago, mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and sea turtles thrived along Africa’s southwest coast. Now, thanks to the efforts of Projecto PaleoAngola scientists, newly-uncovered fossils of these real-life sea monsters shed light on this period in Earth’s history—and on ocean ecosystems today. Sea Monsters Unearthed invites visitors to explore modern Angola’s fossil-filled cliffs, dive into Cretaceous Angola’s cool coastal waters, and learn about the evolutionary, geological, and environmental forces that shaped life in the ocean then and now. Featuring real fossils and full-scale reconstructions as well as panoramic murals, animations, and interviews with scientists, this exhibition explores how these marine reptiles lived, and immerses visitors in an ancient ocean ecosystem that’s both strange and surprisingly familiar.