Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dinosaur Discovery

Although this blog is, for most of the time, a fashion blog, first and foremost it is my blog. Indulge me, I'm a complex and multi-faceted woman in a fast-paced and largely digital world. For an afternoon, I took time out with my boyfriend to visit the Dinosaur Discovery exhibition at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville to see some plastic dinosaurs. An outfit to celebrate the occasion would have been nice, but we walked from our hotel room (which we both regretted later) and I needed to wear material which actually breathes. I work at a dinosaur museum, it was nice to play tourist and explore someone else's museum for a change and I really loved the layout for this exhibition. 

Overall I found the whole experience more enjoyable than last year's Jurassic World exhibition, at the Melbourne Museum. In Townsville, an entire room celebrated the diversity of Australia's dinosaur fauna, explaining where each species had been identified whereas in Melbourne, a small nod to fossil discoveries in Victoria largely felt like an after-thought. There are two species of dinosaur which could have been done better, one being Australovenator wintonensis. I am lucky enough to stand inches away from the holotype specimen on a day to day basis and they could not have misrepresenetd the hands, and in particular claws of this dinosaur if they had tried. Imagine the love child of Edward Scissorhands and a velociraptor, that is what this model looked like. 

The second, another Australian dinosaur was Leaellynasaura amicagraphica. Discovered at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, this ornithischian lived at high latitudes, experiencing three months of continuous feathers. Artistic reconstructions often portray Leaellynasaura as a dinosaur covered in feather, however what I saw was a small muppet in fake fur and hidden amongst a scrubby understory comprised of ferns. Among the most frequently asked questions I encounter at work are loaded questions, including 'well you don't know dinosaurs weren't covered in fur', despite fossil evidence of permineralised dinosaur skin, as well as dinosaur feathers preserved in amber but I digress. Mythbusting, and more specifically dinosaur mythbusting is all part of the job but artist's renditions of dinosaurs which are not based on the fossil evidence and peer-reviewed science are ultimately doing a disservice. 

One thing I loved at this exhibition were the interactive screens. We know more and more children are being exposed to electronic devices like smart phones and tablets and this exhibition beautifully told two stories using the same technology. The first was how animals become preserved as fossils. In simple terms, and with bright graphics it focused on what happens to a carcass and the conditions conducive to fossilisation, without any mention of chemical processes. The other interactive screen described the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event, why the dinosaurs went extinct but also non-dinosaur faunas including the marine reptiles which ruled the seas and pterosaurs. 

1 comment:

  1. honestly i appreciate the fact that you just posted about dinosaurs which are SO cool.