Visiting the dead
Last weekend I visited Berlin and I was once more amazed by the amount of laidback culture in this beautiful capital. A vast array of odd graffiti corners, bars and undergrounds.
Elisabeth, in a bar.
Yet as often, I was drawn to the museum of Natural history.
This is not any museum of Natural History. Because we were at dze gehmans…
Apart from the vast collections of preserved specimens… you can find -on permanent exposition- the holotype of Archaeopteryx
I think this fossil, regarded by most as the most important fossil in the world, deserves a bit more information:
Archaeopteryx lived in the late jurassic period around 150 million years ago, in what is now southern Germany during a time when Europe was an archipelago of islands in a shallow warm tropical sea. Similar in shape to a magpie, with the largest individuals possibly attaining the size of a raven. Archaeopteryx could grow to about 0.5m in length. Despite its small size, broad wings, and inferred ability to fly or glide, Archaeopteryx has more in common with other small Mesozoic dinosaurs than it does with modern birds. In particular, proven by following features: jaws with sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, a long bony tail, hyperextensible second toes (“killing claw”), and various skeletal features. Yet it also possesses feathers on premature wings.
These features make Archaeopteryx a clear candidate for a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds. As such, Archaeopteryx plays an important role, not only in the study of the origin of birds, but in the study of dinosaurs. It was named from a single feather in 1861. Later that year, the first complete specimen of Archaeopteryx was announced. Over the years, ten (only ten!!) more fossils of Archaeopteryx have surfaced.
Small boy dreaming big things!! Brachyosaurus…
Then we came to the part of the museum showing stuffed animals. I was not planning on taking pictures but in a way, I was upset to see people just staring at dead animals. Animals, who probably had been killed long ago for the sole reason of ending up in such a museum.
Hence I wanted to capture this paradox of being drawn to the dead, whilst the living individuals are currently often threatened with extinction. They deserve our utmost attention!
Think it’s alive? It’s not. Here you see how: CLICK
Aye aye / Vingerdier / Daubentonia madagascariensis
This is why I am not a big fan of stuffed animals in the house.
If you’re in Berlin, go check out Archaeopteryx. It is very very special.