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A visit to the Museum of Natural History in London
I was in Europe for a couple of weeks, hitting conventions in Essen and
Dublin, and since my return trip took me through London, I stayed over
for a day to do a bit of museum-crawling.
The Museum of Natural History, in my humble opinion, has the second-best
display collection I have ever seen (first place goes to the Tyrrell), and
the best presentation. If you can ever make the chance to see it, it's
worth the trouble.
But I saw a number of things in the display that bothered me. Comments on
these nitpicks, or even rebuttals, would be welcomed. OTOH, if the
complaints are valid, maybe someone can suggest the most diplomatic way
to pass them to those who can correct the problems.
First, over and over, their signage says "Dinosaurs were
A display says that Allosaurus had "slow, lumbering movement."
They have nice little sketches, on many displays, showing the size of
the dinosaur under discussion. But they seem to have Triceratops and
Parasaurolophus greatly oversized - about 150%. At least, I don't THINK
that T. horridus was 9 meters long with a neck-frill topping out at 4
meters above the ground.
They still think that the Gobi eggs were Protoceratops.
Their large display of small models has an obvious typo - their
Ceratosaurus is certainly not shown at 1/2 actual size. I suspect it
should be 1/12.
And here's a particular back-pat. Something very nice since my last visit:
a small "animatronic" dinosaur - a sleeping hypsy. It just lies there with
its eyes closed, breathing and occasionally twitching its tail. Quite
believable. I wish there had been a sign crediting its creators! It's
located in a little "enclosure" as though it were a live display, and in a
nice subtle touch, it is sleeping far from the center of the otherwise empty
"cage." If the context had been "zoo" and the model had been of a living
species of reptile, I expect most viewers would have been completely fooled.
It was that good.
Steve Jackson - yes, of SJ Games - yes, we won the Secret Service case
Learn Web or die - http://www.io.com/sjgames/ - dinosaurs, Lego, Kahlua!
The heck with PGP keys; finger for Geek Code. Fnord.