Extinction: Not the End of the World?

Host the exhibition at your venue

Take your visitors beyond dodos and dinosaurs to explore the crucial role extinction can play in the evolution of life.

Newly commissioned dodo specimen

Newly commissioned dodo specimen

In this highly topical exhibition, the latest scientific findings on mass extinctions come to life through real specimens, video footage, interactive games and more.

Educational, entertaining and thought-provoking, Extinction is suitable for a wide range of audiences interested in the origins and future of life on Earth.

Your visitors can be a part of the debate as the exhibition is available to hire.

Talk to us about hosting this exhibition


As they journey through the exhibition, your visitors will explore lost species, ranging from the dinosaur and dodo to bizarre insects and super-sized birds.

Chasmasaurus skull cast and video installation

Chasmasaurus skull cast and video installation

Along the way, survivors from past mass extinctions make an appearance such as the leatherback turtle, as well as species that have returned from the dead.

The exhibition also examines recent losses to extinction and the prospects for today's endangered species, like the tiger and orang-utan. Can conservation save them, or could we be on the verge of causing the next mass extinction?

Alongside fascinating facts and dramatic imagery and film, your visitors will get up close to more than 60 real specimens, from a life-size skull cast of Chasmosaurus belli, one of the last dinosaurs to have lived, to a newly-commissioned dodo specimen and an enormous elephant bird egg.

Is this the end?

Early human skull from the Extinction exhibition

Early human skull from the Extinction exhibition

In the final part of the exhibition, visitors learn about what extinction means for humans.

Only 1 of the 9 human species that has ever lived has survived. 

But what does the future hold for us humans? Are we on the verge of creating another mass extinction or will we go the way of the Neanderthals and become extinct ourselves?

What are our hopes and wishes for life on Earth? Are there species we couldn’t live without?  Visitors can get involved by writing on a paper leaf and attaching it to the wishing tree at the end of the exhibition, leaving their own hopes and wishes for others to see.


Watch a short video about the exhibition, Extinction: Not the End of the World? 

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Peek at some specimens and scenes to see more of the exhibition.


At the entrance to the exhibition, visitors are greeted by the enormous skull of Chasmosaurus belli, measuring about 2m tall.

This dinosaur lived just before land-dwelling dinosaurs became extinct. Its name means 'opening lizard', in reference to the large holes in its frill. It was a herbivore and grew up to 6m long.

The extinction of most of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago paved the way for the diversity of life today.

Video wall

On the video wall at the start of the exhibition journey, visitors can experience the rich variety of species today, thriving and threatened.

Vibrant images of life underwater, on land, and in flight appear on this large-screen installation.


Presiding over the centre of the exhibition is a huge 2.6m model of a bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, suspended over a giant tin can.

We're killing this species faster than it can reproduce. To prevent its extinction, we need to eat less tuna and start enforcing conservation measures.


An icon of extinction, the dodo, Raphus cucullatus, was highly successful in its home in Mauritius until rats, goats, pigs and monkeys were introduced by sailors. It became extinct in the 1680s.

This newly-commissioned specimen made for the exhibition is more scientifically accurate. The slimmer dodo is a very different shape to the recognisable round, plump bird we all know and love.


Could we go the same way as the Neanderthal and become Homo extinctus?

Although we think the last Neanderthal died 35,000 years ago, there is evidence they bred with our ancestors - about 3% of their DNA can be found in many humans.

Scientists still debate the cause of the Neanderthal's extinction. Everything from climate change, competition from modern humans, and inter-breeding have been suggested.

Leatherback turtle

Its protective shell, its ability to live without food for up to 12 months and its large number of eggs are all traits that may have helped the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, survive extinction for more than 110 million years.

Birds' dawn chorus

While a global extinction of farmland and woodland birds may be some time into the future, their decline in particular countries such as the UK is dramatic.

In the exhibition, visitors can experience the sounds of the dawn chorus of British birds and the narrators' memories in Suky Best's evocative Early Birds animation.

Interactive extinction game

Your visitors can also test their survival skills in the fun interactive game: On the brink

It's a race against extinction where players must dodge meteorite attacks and feed their own species.

Wishing tree

At the end of the exhibition, visitors are encouraged to leave their thoughts on a wishing tree.

What hopes and wishes do we have for life on Earth? Which species couldn't we live without? Which ones wouldn't we miss?

As the number of leaves grows, the tree comes to life to reveal a thought-provoking exhibit created by exhibition visitors themselves.


To host this exhibition you will need:

  • an indoor display area of at least 450m2 (5,000 square feet)
  • ceiling height of 4.5m (15ft) in one area for assembly, depending
    on assembly equipment
  • environmentally-controlled conditions (exact specification to be confirmed)
  • minimum doorway access height of 3m (10ft) and width of 2.5m (8ft)
  • storage facilities for transport cases
  • single-phase electrical supply
  • a clean and secure room next to the gallery for specimen preparation during installation and dismantling
  • skilled support staff to assist with installation and dismantling, including a site manager and an electrician to sign off the exhibition
  • equipment for access, installation and exit including a forklift with driver and hoists

The venue’s responsibilities include:

  • transport costs for five 13.5m trailers (to be confirmed)
  • translation of text and production of text panels and graphics
  • translation of text for digital interactives and films
  • staffing of the exhibition at all times
  • audio-visual support (details to be confirmed)
  • additional exhibition lighting
  • promotion and publicity
  • insurance

Estimated installation and dismantling period: 14 days.
Ideal hire period: at least 3 months.

Contact us

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Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5793
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Cartoon image of a snake disappearing through closing door

There are 27 km of specimen shelves in the Darwin Centre - the same distance as between the Museum and Junction 6 of the M1.