Monsters, Miniatures, and Other Oddities: History's Most Extreme Mammals

1 of 13
saber toothed cat fossil photo
1 of 13

From a rhinoceros relative the size of four elephants to a kin of the shrew small enough to fit on the end of a pencil, the world's most unusual mammals are among the creatures featured at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences April 3 through September 12 as part of the exhibit "Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time."

With its massive, knife-like upper canines, the saber-toothed cat was no cuddly kitty. This Late Pleistocene-era sabertooth once stalked lands throughout North America and Europe; hundreds of thousands of its bones have been found at the La Brea tar pits in California. This ferocious predator likely used its big chompers, the University of California Museum of Paleontology speculates, to "deliver a fatal ripping wound to the belly or throat of a prey animal."

Image copyright California Academy of Sciences / Kevin Twomey