Current ExhibitsTerrestrial Palaeozoic
During the Palaeozoic Era (542-251 million years ago) plants and animals moved from the seas to make a home on dry land. The process was challenging, requiring significant evolutionary innovation to deal with the effects of gravity and the absence of water. As life slowly gained a foothold on land, continental lowlands and coastlines gradually changed from barren to verdant.
At around 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous Period, diverse communities of plants and animals covered the planet. Just as things seemed to be flourishing, a mass extinction wiped out 90% of life on Earth at the end of the Permian Period, 251 million years ago. This mass extinction is the most severe extinction event known, and marks the boundary between the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic eras.
Passion for the Past
Meet our scientists and find out what inspires.
Behind the Scenes
Take a video tour behind-the-scenes and discover what happens to fossils once they’re collected in the field.
Home to over 120,000 individual specimens we are one of the world’s premiere palaeontological research facilities.