NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

 

An overdue post. After Christmas we finally hit the Natural History Museum. Simply put, I doubt that any country in the world can rival Britain for their museums. The collections are beyond extensive and the buildings magnificent. Simply look at the architecture of the building, beautiful … and ENORMOUS. We covered only a fraction of the building and will definitely go back.

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Our first stop was Ice Station Antarctica. A display and interactive environment where you learn about researchers and their lives as they explore the Antarctic. At the beginning they want to give you a ‘feeling’ for how cold it is. They start off with a warning, if you have a heart condition or medical issues, you do NOT want to step through to the next door.

We step through into a cooler which is chilled to -10 and the guide starts going on about how cold it is. My youngest son looks up at me and says ‘Dad, this really isn’t that cold’. So true, after all we skied in -40 last year, now that is COLD.

Personally, I found the very last part the most interesting – the recruitment poster.

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It would seem that you can join in. At this site they cover the work that the team is doing in the Antarctic, but also have employment opportunities. If I were retired or a young lad, it might be something to consider for a year. Although I would do the quiz first.

We then hit the dinosaur exhibit (of course) where they have a great T-Rex, it reminded me of the exhibit that is going on at the Toronto Zoo (Dinosaurs Alive). Great fun.

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The majority of the dinosaurs are from North America (As in most places, a bunch of them are from the western US and Canada). But there was a story about one of the most important British dinosaur discoveries:

Baryonyx (pronounced /ˌbæriːˈɒnɪks/ meaning "heavy claw", referring to its large claw (Greek barus meaning ‘heavy’ and onyx meaning ‘claw’ or ‘nail’) was a carnivorous dinosaur discovered in clay pits just south of Dorking, England, and northern Spain. The major part of the skeleton of a juvenile specimen was found in England, while the Spanish fossils consist mainly of a partial skull and some fossil tracks. It has been dated to the Barremian period of Early Cretaceous Period, around 125 million years ago.

Baryonyx was discovered in these former deltas. In January 1983, an amateur fossil hunter named William Walker came across an enormous claw sticking out the side of a clay pit, Smokejacks Pit at Wallis Wood, Ockley near Dorking in Surrey. He received some help in retrieving the claw and several other fossil bones from the site. Subsequently he contacted the Natural History Museum in London about his find.

They also had a great explanation of why the dinosaurs REALLY disappeared:

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We rounded out the day with a trip through the mammal exhibit which is filled to the rafters with sculptures and preserved animals of every type. Fascinating exhibit, although someone needs to dust the whale (smile).

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I estimate that we could spend 2 more full days in there and not cover the building. What a great place.

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