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Another View (Was Review of AMNH Lost World Exhibit)
On 8/3/97, dunn1@IDT.NET wrote:
>I recently made the epic journey across Central Park to see the
>American Museum's "Lost World" exhibit. I was a bit disappointed.
I had the opposite experience, although the circumstances were somewhat
different. Tom Holtz, Dale Russell and I, along with two others, flew into
New York last week on a dinosaur business trip. (Dinosaurs need love, care
and protection in the city as well as in the field.) After finishing our
official meetings with some rarified old fossils, we went to the AMNH to see
“The Lost World -- The Life and Death of Dinosaurs” exhibit.
We had arranged for passes to the museum and exhibit, so fees were not a
problem (although the fees do help to support research and education programs
at the museum, and I am a member anyway). As Larry wrote, the
_Mamenchisaurus_ is hugely impressive, with its head at our second floor
level. Walking from specimen to specimen with Dale and Tom lent an elevated
perspective to viewing the reconstructions, as they shared anecdotes on each
as to the mount, its completeness, history and accuracy--fascinating
commentary which passersby duly noted. Neither Tom nor Dale seemed to be
abhorred by the exhibit, so it is scientifically and politically acceptable
to enjoy it when you see it.
>We arrived at the exhibit to discover that no
>photography or videotaping was allowed. Wonderful. I wonder why they
>established that policy wink wink.
Some of the material is under copyright, so that policy is not at all
During our stroll through the collection, Ed Summer of D.I.G. on this list
joined us, and it was great to meet this prominent dino editor and author.
Our group then visited the basement fossil collections for some specific and
general perusal of the cabinets and drawers of bones which have been amassed
over the years. Taped to a central cabinet was a fading typewritten key as
to the organization of the collection--written by Paul Sereno in 1982. Dale
measured a specific bone he had missed on a previous visit and tried to match
another which he had recently acquired, Tom enthusiastically browsed through
the cabinets and shared his expertise, and Ed and I took pictures, asked
questions and listened attentively. The interaction between the two
brilliant paleontologists would have been worth any admission fees, and this
was a wonderful opportunity for the observer to witness the museum side of
this fascinating dinosaur science.
Too soon, our limo met us in front of the museum, and we said goodbye to Ed.
I am quite sure that we all enjoyed the exhibit, the basement tour and the
dino-specific conversational topics. There are much worse ways to spend a
day in New York than communing with dinosaurs, their fans and their