Children's Natural History Museum

Irvingtonian Landscape (Details)

(1 million years ago)
by Laura Cunningham

A herd of mammoths grazes on meadow grass, rushes, cattails, and tules along the river that flows out of the distant ancestral Diablo Range, down a low fan dotted with oak woodland and grass. The present Mission Peak and ridgeline did not exist one million years ago. A mother mammoth walks out of the river, keeping between her baby and Sabertooth cat that is moving casually towards to river thicket. The Sabertooth is not hunting, as shown by its lack of stalking behavior and relaxed attitude. A group of Western Horses and a four-horned antelope coming to the river edge to drink see the Sabertooth and pause to let it pass through. A western camel grazes out in the middle ground meadow and a Mastodon comes out of the oaks where it has been browsing. Two Ground slots browse on Coast live oak leaves, one standing bipedally and pulling a branch down with its long claws. An ancestral coyote runs by catching sight of a ground squirrel (ancestral to the present-day California ground squirrel).