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American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, New York 10024-5192
Voice: 212-769-5100

The American Museum of Natural History is home to the world's largest collection of vertebrate fossils, totaling nearly one million specimens. More than 600 of these specimens, nearly 85 percent of which are real fossils as opposed to casts, are on view. The fossil halls stand as a continuous loop on the fourth floor, telling the story of vertebrate evolution. Unlike most fossil exhibits, which are arranged in chronological order, the Museum's fossil halls display the specimens according to evolutionary relationships, dramatically illustrating the complex branches of the tree of life, in which animals are grouped according to their shared physical characteristics. Such relationships are determined through a method of scientific analysis called cladistics, which the Museum helped pioneer.

The American Museum of Natural History's Division of Anthropology includes many of the world's most respected anthropologists, who conduct research around the world and steward an extensive collection of cultural artifacts amassed over more than a century. The groundbreaking work of Margaret Mead, Franz Boas, and many other early Museum anthropologists has shed light upon the richness of human cultures past and present. The public face of the Division comprises a series of exhibition halls that explores the traditional cultures of Asia, Africa, North and South America, and the Pacific.

The Museum's mammal halls are among its most renowned and beloved. With precise depictions of geographical locations and the careful, anatomically correct mounting of the specimens, the Museum's dioramas are windows onto a world of animals, their behavior, and their habitats. Moreover, since many of the environments represented have been exploited or degraded, some dioramas preserve places and animals as they no longer exist.

The Museum houses 45 permanent exhibition halls that explore the natural world, foster an understanding of cultures, consider humanity's place in the universe, and inspire awe at the beauty and complexity of life that surrounds us. All of the Museum's permanent exhibitions are built on a solid scientific foundation, interpret the work of Museum scientists past and present, and showcase the Museum's world-renowned collections.



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