Produced by HuffPost's Eyes & Ears Citizen Journalism Unit
Chicago, prepare to be smitten by the remarkably endearing Lyuba--the most well-preserved baby mammoth in the world, whose very name means "love" in Russian. Lyuba is the star of the Field Museum's new exhibit, "Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age," which opens this Friday and runs through September 6 before embarking on a four-year tour of North America and overseas.
Marking the first display of the 40,000-year-old baby mammoth in the United States, this exhibit features Lyuba and her story, surrounded by dozens of interactive and touchable displays that take visitors on a journey into a thrilling and fearsome Ice Age world, when mammoths and mastodons, weighing as much as eight tons, roamed the earth along side humans.
In 2007, a Siberian reindeer herder discovered Lyuba, the near perfectly intact specimen, making headlines around the world and giving an international team of researchers unprecedented insight into the lives and the habits of mammoths. Brought to the Field Museum from the Shemanovskiy Museum and Exhibition Center in the Yamal-Nenets district of Russia, the exhibit was curated by Dr. Daniel Fisher, a University of Michigan paleontologist.
"We are presenting here a series of visual, auditory and tactile experiences that capture the sweep of the history of one of the most interesting mammals our earth has known," Fisher said.
The 7,500-square-foot exhibition features large-scale projections, walk- through dioramas and towering, touchable replicas of the creatures of the Pleistocene Epoch, that are truly awesome in their scale and massive presence. The exhibition also features many wonderful surprises, such as a musical soundtrack by Chicago musician Andrew Bird that plays in the galleys and a display of Thomas Jefferson's personal collection of mastodon bones and spearheads, collected for him by William Clark after he returned from his famous Lewis and Clark expedition.
"The Ice Age World was, geologically, just a moment ago. Here in Chicago, we are living on deposits sculpted and left behind by glaciers. These deposits contain the buried fossils of a fascinating array of extinct animals. Our new exhibition will take visitors back to that world, " explains Bill Simpson, Mammoths and Mastodons co-curator. The Field Museum has succeeded in presenting complex scientific information about Lyuba and her world in a way that is entertaining, enlightening and a lot of fun.
Tickets to Mammoths and Mastodons include Museum Basic Admission and are priced at $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and students with ID, and $13 for children 3-11. Discounts are available for Chicago residents. Visit fieldmuseum.org for details.