Paleobotany Gallery – Gaia Hall
Temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
Greeted by lush, green foliage and towering ancient forests, you look around and realize you are not alone in this strange landscape.
Exposed rocks reveal remnants of prehistoric ocean life while reptilian creatures lurk in the underbrush. A trail of giant footprints leads you to an enormous, armoured goliath that once walked these lands long before us. Suddenly, the scenery changes and a more familiar group of animals roams the terrain—strange, fur-covered mammals much larger than those living today. The ice has ravaged the ecosystem and left only lakes and rock behind. Slowly the grasslands return, followed by trees. You are home.
This is the experience guests will have walking through the Gaia Paleobotany Hall. The exhibit brings to light the effects of climate change as seen from a deep-time perspective. Our planet has gone through many changes, and life has been tested and revised many times over 3.8 billion years. Five global mass extinctions have already occurred driven by shifting continents, volcanism, and meteor impacts resulting in changes in ocean circulation, air quality, and ultimately climate change. Recovery from these events may take hundreds of thousands to millions of years, as shown by the fossil record.
The exhibit highlights the diversity of life on Earth and the dramatic changes that took place after each of these events. Guests will be fully immersed in our Earth’s history and see ecological changes from a regional perspective.