The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center introduces visitors to the key concepts presented in the Museum’s fourth-floor Fossil Halls, where more than 600 specimens, 85 percent of them actual fossils, are arranged as a giant “family tree” defined by evolutionary relationships.
Visitors can locate a thick black line on the floor of this hall and follow it as it continues through the Hall of Vertebrate Origins, the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs, the Hall of Primitive Mammals, and the Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals. Branching points along this line represent the evolution of new physical characteristics and direct visitors to alcoves with fossils of closely related animals. This method of grouping organisms, called cladistics, was pioneered with the help of Museum scientists.
A theater in the Orientation Center features a video presentation, narrated by actor Meryl Streep, about the major evolutionary changes and episodes of diversification and extinction that have shaped the course of vertebrate evolution.
Since 2016, the Wallach Orientation Center has also been home to The Titanosaur.