In Images: 'Field Guide' Showcases Bizarre and Magnificent Prehistoric Mammals


prehistoric mammals

(Image credit: Kenneth D. Rose)

Xenocranium lived during the Eocene epoch, 55 million to 34 million years ago. It had a skull tipped with a broad scoop, which it likely used for digging. In fact, its entire skeleton, with its short, strong limbs, was specialized for burrowing.

Livyatan melvillei

prehistoric mammals

(Image credit: Mary Persis Williams)

The gigantic extinct sperm whale Livyatan melvillei measured a whopping 60 feet (18 meters) in length. It had huge curved teeth lining its upper and lower jaws — unlike modern sperm whales, which grow conical teeth only on their lower jaws.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.