The Smithsonian Deep Time Exhibition gave dinosaurs a new life

Science

Five years later, at the Smithsonian, Washington, the National Museum of Natural History reopened its dinosaur hall on June 8. Visitors can come to fans like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus. The new permanent exhibition “David H. Koch Hall of Fossils – Deep Time” has a more grand story about life stories on Earth that tell how organisms interact for thousands of years and how they interact with the Earth and its climate.

Instead, the exhibition began with people.

Many exhibits about the evolution of life are opened with abstract concepts: chemical formulas for life or primary microbes that live in shallow seas. However, designers at Deep Time want visitors to feel their role in the story now, said Siobhan Starrs project manager. Thus, the exhibition begins in the present and moves back in time.

“A big starting point is that life is connected in billions of years,” he said. Scientists show that this immeasurable geological time is deep time, a term that implies a long and lasting relationship between the past and present.

This connected feeling leads to another central theme: putting life into context and going beyond typical predatory scenes to convey a better sense of the world in which living things live. This exhibition combines fossils with other media such as wall paintings and sculptures and shows images of life in the past. A woman collects pomegranate seeds near a giant mastodon, while a tooth tiger hides nearby. A giant snail with nails wrapped prominently to pick up the fruit of an orange tree. Allosurus rolls its tail around the egg.

Not all T. rex scenes are so peaceful, tritteratop faces, putting one foot behind the booty to hold him in place, will definitely be a friend of many people. But even this scene, said Stars, must convey a better story. Nearby is a shallow pool with turtles, shells and shells. “Even T. Rex has a context, he doesn’t live alone.”

Over time, visitors plunged into the history of the development of large carbon fiber era plants and swamps, 359 to 299 million years ago. The amazing part simulates the discovery made in a coal mine with fossils of giant trees embedded in the ceiling and walls.

Deeper use of time as a design concept “allows us to tell about changes in ecosystems and change the environment over time and how they interact with each other,” said Scott Wing, curator of the museum of Paleobotanata. Compared to previous forms that present life stories, he said, “This is a big change in the way we think about ourselves and how we think about the natural world around us.”

In other cases, this new exhibition is a big step forward from the fossil space. For example, Deep Time contains something like its predecessor, with a vertically mounted fossil stegozeur that has been built on the museum floor for decades. Scientists excavate steaks and remove other fossils that have long been shown, and can re-examine the bones.

This caused a number of surprises, said curator dinosaur Matthew Carrano. Two different species of Camptosaurus proved to be the same species at the exhibition, he said. The Triceratops skeleton turns out to be Frankenfossil, a mixed mixture that is not all Triceratops.

The final area of ​​the exhibition goes back to the present and the future, exploring the interactions between climate change on Earth and the forms of life on the planet, and how human activities can affect climate change. This reference is another thing that governs the new exhibition, Starrs said. The hope is that once you experience the fossil space “now visitors think of deep timelines,” they are not only how humans can now change Earth’s climate, but what is left behind for thousands or even millions of years. future.

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