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Bats are an example of abrupt appearance in the fossils record, without much subsequent modification of their body plan. This exquisitely preserved and articulated specimen (about 15 cm in size) is on display at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and comes from Eocene strata of Fossil Lake Basin, Wyoming.
It is tempting to think that all the action in the savannah is going on with the abundant large mammals, but the anthill reveals that there is another unseen world underground; a world of unexpected dynamism that interacts with what is happening on the surface. Hartebeest love to perch on top of these anthills and this behavior reminds us that nature tends to be interconnected. Photo taken in Masai Mara, Kenya.
More than a million wildebeests, together with hundreds of thousands of zebras, migrate annually between Tanzania and Kenya, following the rains in order to find fresh grass to eat. Zebras eat the tougher, taller grass, leaving the shorter softer grass accessible to the wildebeests. By specializing in different grades of grass, the animals divide the resources, permitting greater species diversity. This division of resources extends to several species of antelopes, helping to maintain the species diversity for which Africa is famous. The capacity to specialize on different grasses appears to reflect the Creator’s intention that diverse species should coexist peacefully.
The fossils in this picture comprise the skull, pelvic bones, a few vertebrae, and hind limb bones of two organisms that have been presented as a part of an evolutionary sequence leading from terrestrial mammals to whales. Number 1 in the foreground is Rhodocetus, number 2 in the background is Basilosaurus. The specimens, on display at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, are meant to convey to the observer the concept of progressive adaptation to a fully aquatic behavior. However, inferences about the relation of past life forms should be introduced with awareness of the fragmentary nature of the fossil record.
Thomson's gazelle is one of the fastest land animals. This individual was photographed on the campus of Maxwell Adventist Academy, in Nairobi, Kenya. PE teachers jokingly challenge their students to get one if they can. To date, no one has succeeded.
The skull in this picture belongs to an entelodont, a pig-like mammal that could reach the size of a cow. Specimen from the Oligocene of South Dakota, on display at Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.
Glyptodonts are another impressive type of mammal lost to extinction and part of the Pleistocene megafauna. Specimen on display at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.
Skull and foot of Hyracotherium, a small horse with 3 hooves on its hind feet. Specimens from the Paleocene of Colorado, on display at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.
Megatherium is one of the largest land mammals known to have existed and is part of the Pleistocene megafauna. This ground sloth was endemic to South America. Specimen on display at the Chicago Museum of Natural History
Pantodonts are an extinct type of large mammals, somehow reminiscent of hippos. Skull (from Paleocene of Colorado, US) on display at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.
This large-sized extinct bear was a representative of the so-called Pleistocene megafauna. Specimen mounted and on display at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.