Extreme Mammals!

June 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

As I mentioned earlier this week, I spent last Saturday being trained for the new exhibit at the Field Museum, on Extreme Mammals.  Here are some random bits of knowledge I picked up that will perhaps make your Friday a little more interesting:

  • Bats are a great success story: among more than 5,600 living species of mammals, more than 1,200 are bats.
  • Today the typical mammal weighs about one-quarter pound, although for most of their history they were generally even smaller.  That includes humans, whales, elephants and every other large mammal you can think of.  Bats make up a large percentage of this average, as do rodents.
  • The shrew-like 1.5-inch Batononoides vanhouteni is the smallest land mammal that ever lived.  It was so tiny that it could have perched on a pencil and likely weighed about as much as a dollar bill.
  • The largest known land mammal is the Indricotherium, which lived around 34 to 23 million years ago.  This was a rhino-like creature that weighed up to 20 tons, or about as much as three or four African elephants.  Here’s a pic:

Like whoa

  • The largest living mammal today is the African elephant.  And since I’ve actually seen these up close and personal while traipsing through the African bush, I can attest that they are indeed huge.
  • The smallest living mammal today is the kitti’s hog- nosed bat.
  • There are more than 300 living marsupial mammals – they are so named because they have the characteristic marsupium, or pouch, in which they carry their young.
  • Most mammals live on land and some live in the sea (whales, for instance).  But only a few can glide through the air (hence the name flying squirrel) and only one group can actually fly.  That would be those bats once again.

That’s all I’m at liberty to say.  If you want to know more you should check out the exhibit (I can get you in for free!) as it’ll be with us until January 2013.  If you can’t make it to Chicago between now and then it is a traveling exhibit so you can always try to catch it later.  Or you can just bribe me with booze and I’ll tell you more.

Happy Friday!


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