We are open again on weekdays! Please note that masks are required for all public spaces on campus including the museum.
The Museum of Natural Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan tells the story of evolution on Earth. It begins with the ancient fishes, progresses through the early amphibians to the great reptiles and ends in the modern world where fishes rule the sea, birds the air and mammals the land. The evolution of animals depended on the evolution of plants from ancient ferny forests, through stands of conifers and cycads, to the diverse flowering plants of today. The evolution of both plants and animals in turn depended on Earth’s geology, how the continents shifted, and how the climate changed. Visit today to learn more about the history of our incredible planet.
Age of Fishes
The Age of Fishes began over 400 million years ago and lasted for about 50 million years. In the various tanks and ponds, we have live representatives of some of Earth’s diverse aquatic life: invertebrates, cartilaginous fish, tropical marine fish, Amazon River fish, air-breathing fish, and spotted gar.
Age of Amphibians
The Age of Amphibians spans about 100 million years, and follows the first appearance of vertebrates on land which occurred about 370 million years ago. We have leopard tree frogs, a replica of a large amphibian that lived before the dinosaurs, and ferns which represent vegetation during this time period.
Age of Reptiles
The Age of Reptiles was 250 to 65 million years ago. Reptiles dominated the land and took to the sea and air, and our skeleton replicas are four of the most well-known examples: Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Mosasaur. We also have geckos, lovebirds (which show one type of reptile evolution), and conifers and cycads that represent the seed plants alive during this period.
Age of Mammals
The Age of Mammals followed the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Age of Reptiles, 65 million years ago and persists to the present day. We have skeleton replicas that illustrate the evolution of the horse, live degus, and flowering plants which first appeared during the Age of Reptiles and now dominate most land environments.
Minerals and Rocks
Our collection of minerals and rocks is showcased in the central area and along the ground floor hallway of the Geology Building. There are also displays on Saskatchewan resources, geophysical exploration techniques, mineral and rock chemistry, plate tectonics, earthquakes, meteorites, and volcanoes, and a working seismograph. Throughout the museum, there are walls of mottled limestone called Tyndall stone and full of invertebrate fossils.
On the second floor of the Geology Building, displays show Earth’s geological and biological history including the birth of Earth, the oldest rocks, life in the Paleozoic Sea, the super-continent, the proliferation of plants, land animal evolution, the rise and then extinction of the dinosaurs, the last Ice Age, and the appearance of early hominids.