Special Exhibit

Life at the Limits

Past Exhibition


Tardigrades can enter a state known as 'cryptobiosis' in which they are nearly impossible to kill. 

Imagine holding your breath for an hour and a half. Enduring temperatures above 300° F and below -458˚ F. Or seeming to cheat death by repeatedly cloning yourself. Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species explores the diverse and sometimes jaw-dropping strategies animals and plants employ to find food, fend off predators, reproduce, and thrive in habitats most would find inhospitable, even lethal. 

The exhibition, curated by Mark Siddall, a parasitologist, and John Sparks, an ichthyologist, introduces visitors to bizarre mating calls, extreme examples of parasitism, and other extraordinary means of survival using specimens, videos, interactive exhibits, and models, including a climbable Hercules beetle. 

Live animals on display include the surprisingly powerful mantis shrimp; the highly mobile nautilus; and the axolotl, an entirely aquatic salamander that breathes through external gills. Life at the Limits tells the stories of these and many more creatures across the tree of life—and their unusual approaches to the challenges of living on Earth.

Learn more about the exhibition here


The Museum gratefully acknowledges the

Richard and Karen LeFrak Exhibition and Education Fund. 


Generous support for Life at the Limits has been provided by the

 Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund.


Life at the Limits is proudly supported by