Our museums remain closed due to COVID-19. While LA County Public Health has entered Phase 3 of the Roadmap to Recovery, allowing for the reopening of museums on June 12, our museums are still slowly welcoming back staff and are in the process of planning for new health and safety protocols in our galleries and gardens. Therefore, we will not be reopening until later in the summer. Sign up here to be the first to know when we will safely re-open to the public and in the meantime, stay connected from home.

Mind-Blown Science: Dr. Luis Chiappe and NHM's Extraordinary Plesiosaur

Dr. Luis Chiappe, Director of our Dinosaur Institute, explains why this giant marine reptile blows his mind.

pregnant plesiosaur in dinosaur hall

Plesiosaurs were a diverse family of giant marine reptiles (not dinosaurs) that lived during the Mesozoic Era. They typically had broad bodies, short tails, and large flippers. They were among the top predators in the Western Interior Seaway, the large inland sea that existed during the Cretaceous period stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. 

This extraordinary mounted Plesiosaur skeleton in the Dinosaur Hall shows us a rare surprise. A closer look shows a baby’s skeleton inside her, showing scientists that Plesiosaurs had live births during the age of dinosaurs.