Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction

Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction, is an on-going exhibition at the Art Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands.  Admission is S$28 for foreigners, S$24 for locals.  It is quite pricey for an exhibition, I was quite hesitant to pay it a visit, but then I finally decided to take the plunge over the Easter long weekend.

Ushering the visitors are Herrerasaurus,  one of the earlier dinosaurs.  Four skeleton fossils were on display, which look like a family of four.  Behind, it is the shadow puppet images of them, with their roars coming out from the electronic speakers.  You get a sense of tense atmosphere, transporting you from the modern world back to millions of years ago, the ages when dinosaurs ruled...

Plant Fossil

Animal Fossil

There are fossils from different ages on display, some of plants, some of animals.  You will be fascinated by how well those fossils had been preserved.  For the plant fossils, you can see clearly the leaves on them.  That plant was living millions of years ago!  Not last year, not yesterday, but millions of years ago, and yet now, it is right there in front of you, face to face, telling you an ancient story, in its own way.

To refresh my poor memory, some important years are displayed.  And obviously there were a couple of mass extinction events in the history of the earth.  One was around 2-3 million years ago.  Half of the species on earth went extinct.  What happened?  Nobody knows, your guess is just as good as mine.  Another one was around 65 million years ago.  Dinosaurs went extinct during that mass extinction event.
However, not all is lost.  There has been advocates in the academic world arguing that our modern birds are actually the descendants of dinosaurs.

If you compare a modern bird's skeleton with that of a dinosaur, don't you see indeed there are some similarities?

In people's mind, dinosaurs are always gigantic creatures, which is not always true.  There were dinosaurs which were of the size of a mouse!  One of them is Marasuchus, living in middle Triassic age.

Marasuchus, a mouse-size dinosaur

Of course, there were indeed gigantic dinosaurs as well, they dominates the entire exhibition hall.

All our knowledge about dinosaurs come from fossil discoveries.  Experts identify dinosaurs' eating habits by looking at their teeth.

A Pure Meat Eater
A Meat & Vegetable Eater

Can you tell the difference?  I was just amazed that living creatures on planet earth have not changed that much, even though millions of years had gone by.

The exhibition is very interesting, telling visitors stories, imparting knowledge in a fun and engaging way.  The admission, definitely worth it.  

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