Evolving Grasslands

Paleogene and Neogene Periods, 65 million to 1.8 million years ago

The Evolving Grasslands hall traces the changes in landscape, plants and animals in the 60 million years following the extinction of the dinosaurs.Tropical forests teeming with alligators and predatory birds (like New Mexican native Diatryma, shown at right) gave way to extensive grasslands that were the home of camels, elephants, and saber-toothed cats. Fossils, footprints, and murals document the changes that occurred as New Mexico began to acquire its modern appearance.