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I spent yesterday at Oxford University's Natural History Museum: 
Dave Martill and I went there to photograph _Iguanodon_ bones sent 
to Buckland from the Isle of Wight, but we ended up having a look at 
everything in the whole musem. It was spectacular - not just because 
they have such wonders as mounted specimens of 
_Eustreptospondylus_, _Camptosaurus (=_Cumnoria) preswitchii_ 
(both of which have been remounted and are in new postures), a cast of 
the proposed _Iguanodon bernissartensis_ neotype, the immense lower 
jaw of _Liopleurodon (=_Stretosaurus_) macromerus_ and casts of 
the Ashmolean's dodo - but also because they've now added loads of 
new dinosaur exhibits. Among these are a complete _Tyrannosaurus 
rex_ skeleton, the skull of 'Stan', an _Anatotitan_ skull, a mounted 
_Edmontosaurus_, an ornithomimid skeleton (labelled as 
_Struthiomimus sedens_), a lifesize _Utahraptor_ model and, to my 
utter astonishment, the skeleton of _Bambiraptor_ (which they have 
labelled as _Velociraptor feinbergi_). There are lifesize high-detail 
models of _Acanthostega_, _Compsognathus_ and _Archaeopteryx_ - 
I forget the name of the artist but his work is well known and much 
publicised (he is best known for his Palaeozoic fish). A new specimen 
of _Peloneustes_ is laid out in a case in the disarticulated pose in 
which it was found. I spent lots of time looking closely at 
_Eustreptospondylus_: you can't look that closely, because it's in a 
glass case and the skull has been restored, thus making it hard to see 
where the real bone stops and starts, but it *appears* as if there's a 
notch between the premaxilla and maxilla. Would have to handle the 
thing before being sure about that. In the collections we looked at an 
_Iguanodon_ collected from Sussex by David Cooper: judging from 
the femur it is probably the biggest _Iguanodon_ I've ever seen - am 
still trying to do the maths but the animal was probably around 15 m 
long. I'll work it out properly when the photos are developed.

The museum isn't full of the computerised interactive nonsense that 
most places now spend their money on: it is instead full of dead things, 
which is the way museums should be. There are innumerable mounted 
skeletons of mammals, stuffed birds, hundreds of pinned insects and 
loads of life-size models of fishes, reptiles and amphibians. If you are 
interested in zoology, palaeontology or the history of biological 
collections, it is an absolute must.

School of Earth, Environmental & Physical Sciences
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road                           email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
Portsmouth UK                          tel: 01703 446718
P01 3QL