But after chatting with collections manager Aisling Farrell for a spell (cool job, cool name, no biggie), we've managed to identify our five favorites --
All from 10,000 to 20,000 years ago, around the end of the last Ice Age.
So here they are, from cool to coolest, complete with big beautiful museum photos and the occasional factoid with which to impress the pensive chick with thick rims in the corner cubicle who deep-down wishes she'd grown up to be
an archeologist a paleontologist:
5. Giant jaguar skull.What's not cool about a giant jaguar skull? Get a load of those sexy Shere Kahn eye sockets. Farrell says the panthera atrox -- the largest cat in history -- is one of her favorites, mostly due to its obscurity. "Carnivores, the world over, in the fossil record, are generally rare," she says. "This is our first real, most complete panthera. There are only a handful of them across North America."
And if that's not enough to turn you on: "There's still controversy and debate regarding its origins and its lifestyle," says Farrell.