The period of the Ice Ages brings us to more recent times. This exhibit shows a Scimitar-toothed cat, a dire wolf,
a long-nosed Peccary,
and a giant Ground Sloth, among others.
The Glyptodont must be the biggest armadillo you ever saw!
These skulls of a Mammoth and a Gomphothere, both found in Texas, show how enormous these animals really were. (Remember the lower jaw from another Gomphothere in a photo on the previous page?)
In Texas, they came big and small, like this large Bison head next to a small cottontail rabbit.
Here is the best for last, the Pterosaur, found in what is now the Big Bend National Park, Texas. With a forty-foot wing span, this flying reptile was big,
with a huge head, shaped as if it had been designed to scoop up fish from just below the surface of the water, the way seagulls do today.
It had claws in its wings.
Its body had a rib cage, vertebrae, a pelvis, and a tail, which begs the question: how is it that a flying lizard from seventy million years ago could have a body with so many similar features as human beings and other mammals today?
Thinking about this creature made me question our raison d'Ítre and our place in the grand scheme of things.
If you get to visit Austin, this museum is well worth a visit. I could not take pictures of everything there, and my photos do not do justice to the artifacts, and the experience of actually being there to see them yourself.