'I'm not making it up! It's a giant saber-toothed salmon'

'I'm not making it up! It's a giant saber-toothed salmon'

EUGENE, Ore. - Saber-toothed salmon have fascinated Ray Troll for years.

"They were first dug up in Oregon in the 60s," the artist said. "This is a giant salmon. It might have even been as big as about 14 feet. And seriously folks, I'm not making it up! It's a giant saber-toothed salmon."

Troll is painting a mural of the prehistoric creature for a new exhibit at the Natural and Cultural History Museum on the University of Oregon campus.

"It's called Explore Oregon, and it's going to be showcasing the natural history and geology of the Northwest," said Kristin Strommer with the museum. "The saber-toothed salmon is one of our stars in the new exhibit."

And it's not alone.

"You're going to have a giant, 7-foot replica skeleton of a giant sloth, which is a large mammal that once called Oregon its home," Strommer said.

"The fossil record in this state is just extraordinary," Troll said.

The museum is adding interactive exhibits in February 2014.

"We're going to have a sea-floor spreading display where visitors can turn a crank and actually see tectonic movement happen," Strommer said. "It's a great opportunity for the public to engage in a conversation about science, about conservation, and about Oregon's future."