Saturday, February 20, 2010

Trip to the Museum of Natural History

This past week, Grumpet took me to NYC to the Museum of Natural History. I haven't been in about 8 years, and he hadn't been in a while either, so it was a fun way to spend the day. We took the train to the city, and the subway to the museum.

The subway car we were on was sponsored by Holland Air, and there were copies of Dutch Masters and this interesting bench and wall decor. This is all just design stuck on top of the usual plastic subway furniture--no fabric, no wood, a clever illusion.

Here we are at the Reptile and Amphibian exhibit. Models of salamanders walking.

This part of the exhibit had to do with amphibian defense and toxins. The T. rivularis is doing her unken yoga, and above the models were hanging these chemical models.

Here is the chemical model of t-toxin (my clever way of getting around spelling it out...)

I never thought about this before, but perhaps those who know more than me can explain: when the same species is neotenic like this, is the head really so much bigger? That neotenic Tiger sal has such a huge head, and the terrestrial form of the animal is so much tinier. Or are the models misleading me?

A model of the giant Japanese salamander. Grumpet called me over to see it. "I've seen those in real life," I said.
"Oh, yeah, sure you did, this is a mythological creature, it isn't real," replied Grumpet.
"Yes it is!! I saw them in the zoo!"
"No you didn't."
"Yes I did....oh, ha ha."

Model of Hellbender and its skeleton.

Whoa, aren't these exhibits lifelike? You'd swear they were real animals floating in a pond. (Not.)

Model of Fire Salamander and its skeleton.

Look at this gigantic turtlesaurus! See how big it is in relation to the people you can see through the glass? You could get a saddle and bridle and ride the darn thing!

I thought this was a nice transition between the herp part and the rest. These dinosaur egg layers are cute as newts. (Click on photos for larger views).

Here we have the skeleton of a dinosaur that could have come directly from a Lovecraft story. May I present: The Bones of Cthulhu.

People have been saying this to me my whole life and now I finally get to apply it to someone else: "Nice rack!"

A diorama of an ancient undersea world featured these cool creatures.

And now for the world of mustelids. A sea otter diorama with a scene painted in the back. Or maybe it was a blown-up photo, I forget.

If I was a cavewoman, this would have been my pet: the ancestor of both kitties, otters, and ferrets. That would be fun to have a pet that rolls them all up at once.

That stuffed weasel is both cute and hideous at the same time. To the right, an otter; in the middle, an ermine, and on the left, I believe it was a mink.

A native of some western hemisphere culture, I believe. But some things are universal, and I can just hear her: "WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME!"

Look, I'm not the first person in the world to have some Shoes of Joy!

Birdies for my friend A.S.

More birdies

Here is some (primitive) art of Bali. I think of it as a sort of yoga-masturbation crossover genre. But the frogs, I don't know where they fit in.

On to the primates. Smile for the camera!

Or not. I like this comparison between the skeleton of a monkey and a toddler. Though who donated their toddler's skeleton to the Museum of Natural History, I wondered.

No trip to that museum is complete without homage to the Big Blue Whale. I remember that from when I was a kid, my first visit there with my Dad. A true classic.

If I had to spend the day with some of those screaming kids that were ubiquitous in the museum, I'd be looking for the hanging station too.

addendum: Riddle:
What goes *>THUMP<* ... "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" ?
One of the MANY kids who would be running around out of control and would run into one of the many glass cases covering the exhibits! They were worse than birds flying into windows!

~ The End ~

Put ♥ this ♥ on ♥ your ♥ status ♥ if ♥ you ♥ have ♥ the ♥ most ♥ beautiful ♥ FERRETs ♥ in the ♥ world ☆•*¨*•.¸¸❤❤¸.•*¨*•☆☆•*¨*•.¸¸❤❤


Nathan said...

This was really fun to read, Dawn! To answer your question about the Tiger head size, I think it has something to do with how they develop? I remember reading that the cannibalistic variants of the juveniles have wider, bigger heads and jaws.

Abrahm said...

Awesome! This is one of those places I really should get to at some point (and maybe NYC in general.)

Oh, when it comes to Tetradotoxin you can look smart and be lazy by calling it TTX ;-)

I'm not sure about the size of the differences between the neotenic and properly adult tiger salamander. The neotenic specimen is proportionally larger in pretty much all respects (except useless limbs.) Maybe this is one of those super predatory/cannibal specimens that crops up? Or they could just grow larger as neotenic animals. They're lighter in water so maybe they offset that by getting too big?

I really like the strange squid/snails. Neat stuff! Cthulhu's minions. And yay birds! Did they have a Carolina Parakeet or a passenger pigeon?