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6 Posts tagged with the diplodocus tag
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The Earth Hall on Science Uncovered night last month. Bustling with cosmic and creative activity, cutting edge technology and prehistoric wonders. More pictures below.

 

Tonight, Friday 26 October, is a very special night for 10 lucky science and natural history fans, as they will be spending an exclusive evening sleeping over at the Museum.

 

At 28 September's Science Uncovered evening we ran a discovery trail called Stamped on Science and 5 attendees who completed the trail were drawn from almost 200 entries and won themselves, and a guest, an amazing overnight experience in our hallowed Central Hall, and tonight is the big night.

 

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One of the many Stamped on Science-ers collecting a stamp on the night.

After they've enjoyed all we have on offer as part of our monthly Friday Lates with MasterCard, the 10 attendees will begin their unforgettable experience.

 

Museum scientists Dr Adrian Glover and Dr Victoria Herridge will guide them on exclusive behind-the-scenes tours and bring out specimens not normally on display to the public while they talk about their research.

 

After a night's sleep alongside the giant sequoia, in the upper Central Hall gallery, the lucky 10 will enjoy a continental breakfast under our iconic Diplodocus skeleton, Dippy. They'll then be taken on a tour of our Zoology Spirit Building and get early access to our ever-popular Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 exhibition.

 

Sounds like a lot of fun for those lucky 5 winners and their guests, who were just a fraction of the 9,077 visitors we had through the South Kensington doors (another 554 attended Tring) for our third annual Science Uncovered festival last month.

 

More than 500 scientists, staff, volunteers and visiting experts helped make the event possible and we're sure everyone who attended will agree it was a wonderful evening.

 

Have a look at some of our favourite pictures and see for yourself. Select the images to enlarge them.

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At the Space Station comets were re-created using (mostly) household ingredients: dry ice, gravel (for the carbonaceous materials), worcester sauce (for the organic materials) and Mr Muscle (for the ammonia).

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The skulls and other remains of our ancient ancestors at the Human Origins Station were a talking point for lots of visitors who chatted to Museum experts on the subject of where we came from.

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Making your own cave art was a popular activity and resulted in a colourful display of familiar images and more contemporary hands-on contributions.

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A state-of-the-art digital specimen table uncovered layers of a mummified cat (pictured) and Martian meteorites with the swipe of a finger.

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Discovering the magic of minerals and their structures

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The incredible palaeontological specimens at the Extinction Station station were a hit.

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Scientists enjoyed the chance to chat about their research and show off their specimens, including here at the Ocean Stations (above and below).

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Sea silk, one of the strange underwater specimens on show at the Oceans Station.

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The Antarctica Science Station gave people a taste of the cold conditions scientists, researchers and explorers experience at the South Pole.

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Many of the younger visitors could be found experimenting at being a vet and treating some very cuddly (toy) creatures at the Vets Station.

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Behind-the-scenes tours gave visitors the chance to step into the role of scientist in our labs.

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The tour of the Museum's library proved popular for its special access to historic artwork and texts.

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Our roaming animal handlers let those brave enough hold real live animals.

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The Food Station was as colourful and tasty as we would expect.

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The Sopabox Art sessions attracted curious listeners, especially the discussion about breeding a mouse with the DNA of Elvis.

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Science Fight Club in full sway.

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The night was made all the merrier by the specially-concocted Science Uncovered cocktail, the Pollinator.

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And who found out what this hairy brain-like mystery speciman was?
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Rosie Waldron, one of our Nature Live team who will be working at Science Uncovered - our fantastic night of events to celebrate science at the Museum - tells us about one of the things you shouldn't miss when you attend:

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'If you've ever dreamed of spending a night at the Museum and are coming to Scibutterfly-stamp-22.jpgence Uncovered this Friday 28 September, one of the things you must do is the Stamped on Science trail. The prize for 5 lucky people is a pair of tickets to an exclusive sleepover here.

 

'To enter all you need to do is pick up a Science Uncovered map at the Central Hall Welcome Desk when you arrive at the event, and look for the Stamped on Science trail printed on it. There are six stamps you need to collect (you can crab-200.jpgalso download a PDF of the map at the bottom of this blog post.)

 

'As you enjoy the Science Uncovered activities around the Museum, look out for Stamped on Science staff who will be handing out the stamps at six different locations acorss the Museum building as indicated on the map.

 

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'Once you have collected all six stamps you should take your completed map to

the Stamped on Science desk in the Central Hall and you will be entered into the prize draw.

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'The draw takes place at 22.00 on the evening. But in case you've left by then, once you've provided your name and phone number on the completed trail, we'll be in touch (if you win!).skull-200.jpg

 

'The five lucky people who are randomly drawn win an exclusive sleepover at the Museum for themselves and a friend which will be on 26 October 2012.

 

'The stree-200.jpgleepover event is called Science Under the Covers and includes behind-the-scenes tours with Museum scientists, a field camp experience overlooking the Central Hall and breakfast in the morning under our Diplodocus skeleton's tail...'

 

 

Science Uncovered starts at 16.00 and goes on until 23.00 - find all the details on the website

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Yes today, our most iconic and much-loved Central Hall Diplodocus dinosaur display is 106 years old! And looking good on it too.

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Diplodocus carnegii in the Central Hall. The famous skeleton cast is 26 metres long and has 356 individual bones. Select image to enlarge

Thanks to King Edward VII and the Scottish-born millionaire Andrew Carnegie, Dippy - as our 26-metre-long sauropod skeleton plaster cast is affectionatey known here - was unveiled at 1pm in the Museum on 12 May 1905.

 

It was the first full skeleton of a sauropod dinosaur to go on display in the world and understandably caused a stir. Sauropods were the very large, plant-eating dinosaurs, with famously long necks and tails that lived about 150 million years ago in the Late Jurassic Period.

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Diplodocus means 'double-beam' which refers to the shape of some of the lower tail bones, called chevrons. Although there are estimations that Amphicoelias is the longest dinosaur, Dippy is still the longest dinosaur from a completely known individual.

 

A recent Museum book about Dippy written by our dinosaur expert Paul  Barrett (along with Polly Parry and Sandra Chapman), opens with this:

 

dippy-book-angle-drop-800px.jpg''Dippy is not a real skeleton, but an exact plaster replica of fossilised  bones found in the badlands of Wyoming, USA, and now housed in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh. The London Diplodocus was first revealed to an astonished public in 1905 and became an instant media star, depicted in numerous newspaper cartoons and news reports. Dippy continues to enthral the public and has even had a  starring role in movies and TV shows.'

 

According to the book, visitors often ask how to pronounce Diplodocus. As the name is a combination of two Greek words, it should sound like 'dip-low-dock-us' with the emphasis on the 'dip' and the 'dock'. However, there are lots of variations on this, ranging from 'dip-low-doe-cus' to 'dip-lod-oh-cus'. I'm still not sure myself, which is probably why a lot of us just stick with Dippy.

 

Dippy: the tale of a museum icon is a great read, and is on sale in the Museum shop and our online shop.

 

Read all about Dippy's 106 years here at the Museum in the latest news story


Other dinosaur delights for our visitors and featuring animatronic models are the Age of the Dinosaur summer exhibition and the Dinosaurs gallery.

 

Find out lots of fantastic facts about Diplodocus on our Dino Directory Top 5 fact file.

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In two days from now, our Age of Dinosaur exhibition opens to the public on Good Friday, 22 April. Just in time for Easter weekend.

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'I'm not hungry' moans Camarasaurus, the first animatronic dinosaur you'll meet in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibition

I peeped into the gallery yesterday to see how the exhibition was coming along. Paul Gallagher, the exhibition's installation manager, is relieved installation is nearing its conclusion. 'Now, the only things left to do are to install the smells and misting machines and complete the final snagging, lighting levels in the two Immersive environments and the showcases. We also need to do some paint touch-ups and set dressing.'

 

As I enter the Jurassic zone, Paul and his team, are busy trying to give Camarasaurus a big bunch of ferns to eat.

 

The enormous lurching head and neck of Camarasaurus is the first encounter that visitors will have with the animatronic dinosaurs in the exhibition. The guys make several attempts to coax the beast, without success. Understandably though, as Camarasaurus is one of the biggest giant plant-munching sauropods and getting close to that mouth looked pretty daunting. From its perch on a rock opposite, Archaeopteryx looks on inquisitively.

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Screech and sqwak: Protoceratops, left, and Oviraptor, right - two of the noisiest animatronic stars of the exhibition's Cretaceous zone. Select all images to enlarge them

Moving on to the Cretaceous zone, I'm startled by the noises of the five animatronic dinosaurs in this desert habitat. The sounds are pretty alarming, particularly the screech of Protoceratops and the Oviraptor's cry. Maybe Protoceratops is afraid that the prowling, feathery Velociraptor, not far away, will steal its eggs...

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Of course, the roar of Tarbosaurus, above - the final animatronic dinosaur and T.rex's terrible twin - is awesome. I'm transfixed to the ground, which trembles from the power of that roar, by the gaping teeth and fearsome jaws as the creature lunges towards me. But drawn to it strangely, and imagine myself riding on top of the giant predator for some reason!  I think it's because you get so close to the dinosaurs in this exhibition, it makes them all the more real.

 

It intrigues me how we know about the different dinosaur noises, so I ask Paul and he says: ''The dino roars actually come  pre-set with the creatures from Kokoro the manufacturer, in Japan. We can’t alter them. But we did develop the Archaeopteryx noise.'

 

Georgina, the exhibition's interpretation manager, tells me the noises are actually educated guesswork really. 'Scientists look at similar types and sizes of animal live today,' she says. 'They compare what these sound like and their hearing ranges and piece it together through that.'

 

Paul Barrett, the Museum's renowned dinosaur researcher confirms this: 'Georgina is spot on. We can deduce hearing ranges in dinosaurs though measuring the size of the part of the inner ear that houses the organ of hearing (the size of this is related to the hearing range). And through looking at body size. Comparisons with closely-related animals, and animals with similar behaviours, flesh this out. For example, we know that the hearing range of Archaeopteryx was very similar to that of an emu, crow or magpie, so we selected crow and magpie calls for the animatronic.'

 

Undeniably, it's the six animatronic dinosaurs and one animatronic dino-bird that are the stars of the show.

 

But there's lots more to discover in this exhibition including rare plant and marine specimens, a huge variety of dinosaur body parts, large-scale graphic timelines, illustrations and scientific research panels. Along with interactive challenges and a CGI film.

 

Have a look at the new Age of Dinosaur exhibition slideshow to see what awaits you

 

There will be more news of the exhibition and a video trailer coming soon, so watch this space.

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It's time to say a fond farewell to Jimmy Doherty, his co-presenters, and the Natural History Museum on TV. The last programme of the Museum of Life BBC documentary is tonight, 22 April. But you can catch the series for 1 more week on BBC iPlayer. And our last episode talk and screening is next Wednesday on 28 April.

 

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Tonight's final episode 6, 'A Collection for the Future', delves deep into the world of meteorites and minerals. In one of the highlights, presenter Liz Bonnin talks to our Museum mineralogist Alan Hart about the casting of the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, once the world's largest diamond and the size of a hen's egg. Here in our Vault gallery, visitors can actually view 2 replicas of the cut and recut Koh-i-Noor diamond (right).


Other tasty titbits in tonight's programme include looking inside a shark specimen without damaging it, some cutting-edge techniques that scientists are developing to investigate the Museum's collections in future, and Sir David Attenborough on the Museum's future role.

 

To find out more about tonight's episode and the whole series, visit our Museum of Life website.

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Tonight we are also revealing all the questions to the Museum of Life competition which Twitter fans have been following. Join our live tweets tonight on @NHM_MOL Twitter stream for a chance to win. You don't have to be a Twitter fan to enter, but it'll certainly help with the answers. Enter on the Museum of Life competition webpage.

Bye bye Liz, Kate, Jimmy, Mark and Chris. It's been great going behind the scenes of the Museum with you all
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If you want to see more amazing meteorites and diamonds, visit our Minerals gallery and The Vault gallery . Some stunning minerals, including a piece of moon rock, and semi-precious stones also line our Red Zone ground floor by the Earth galleries escalator. Discover all about meteorites on our website.


To join the last Nature Live episode 6 session on 28 April or browse our interactive Museum of Life, go to our Museum of LIfe page for visitors.

 

For those who need more, there is a book of the series available from our Museum shops and a DVD on the way.

 

Happy Earth Day.

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Museum treasures will be revealed on the exclusive new Night Safari tour

When we announced the first Dino Snores sleepover event in January this year, many adults were understandably miffed that the only way you could join in was if you accompanied a group of children. (After all, it is a children’s event.)

 

But now there’s something new and exotic for adults and it’s called Night Safari. The first safari will take place on 8 March. Expect all the adventure and atmosphere of a real wildlife safari, but here in the comfort and splendour of our iconic Central Hall, not to mention a bar.

 

Night safaris won’t be all-nighters, they’ll start around 6.30pm and end at 10.30pm, and they promise some rare treats.

 

On arrival at the Museum, there will be an introductory talk and safari visitors can enjoy the bar before the tours start (drinks can’t be taken on the tours for obvious reasons). Groups of 25 visitors will then join our Night Safari guides for their tours around 7ish, starting at different points in Central Hall.

 

Tour groups will explore both the Central Hall ground floor, featuring a stop at Dippy, our famous Diplodocus skeleton (below), and the upper galleries, including Minerals, the Vault and the giant sequoia tree trunk at the very top of the balconies.

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On the tour, visitors will meet some of our leading scientists and researchers who’ll reveal and discuss their favourite, treasured specimens. Some of these ‘top five’ specimens are usually kept in our collections behind the scenes, so this is a really unique opportunity to get close to something extraordinary, with the expert on it at hand.

 

I’m told that at the March safari, one of the scientists' chosen specimens will be an awesome set of great white shark jaws and skin - presented by our well-known and respected fish curator, Ollie Crimmen.

 

To ease off the safari heat, there’s a 30-minute break in the middle of the tour. Tours finish around 9.45pm, so enough time for a last drink and chat before heading out from the Central Hall wildlife at 10.30, when the doors close.

 

If our Night Safaris are anything like the Dino Snores events, they are likely to sell out quickly, so book tickets online early. Night Safaris are planned for every 2 months on a Monday night and the next ones are confirmed for 10 May and 12 July.