On Sunday, April 11, Curator of Paleontology Eric Scott will present a lecture, “Tapirs: Curious Cousins of the Horse” at the San Bernardino County Museum at 2pm. This presentation is free with paid museum admission.
Many of the extinct animals that lived in southern California during the Pleistocene Epoch—the “Ice Ages”—are well-known to young and old alike: mammoths, sabre-toothed cats, ground sloths. Less well-known is a smaller, less conspicuous animal: the tapir. “Tapirs are hoofed mammals related to horses,” said Scott, “but they’re much more primitive in many of their features. Think of a pig-sized critter with a snout like a short trunk and three toes on each foot–that’s a tapir!”
Tapirs today live only in Central and South America and southeastern Asia. “During the Ice Ages, we had at least two species of these unusual animals right here in southern California, as well as in much of the rest of the US and Mexico,” Scott said.
Recent discoveries of tapir fossils by museum paleontologists and other researchers in inland southern California and northwestern Sonora, Mexico, are rewriting what we know about these reclusive creatures. “Comparing fossils we find here in California, right under our feet, with fossils from Mexico paints a very different picture from what we thought we knew,” said Scott. “We’re rethinking how many kinds of tapir lived here in the southwest during the Ice Ages.” Join Scott for the afternoon as he shares a picturesque travelogue of his experiences south of the border, reviewing what we know and what we’ve recently learned about ancient Ice Age tapirs.
San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 (adult), $6 (military or senior), $5 (student) and $4 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org
The Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669 ext. 229 or (TDD) 909-792-1462.