Into the wild!

The facade of the Natural History Museum
The facade of the Natural History Museum

I have recently arrived in the wild lands of London and decided to begin getting acquainted with the city by being a tourist and seeing some museums (typical, fresh of the boat stuff). The Natural History Museum as always is first on the agenda.

Rough sketch of a raptor fossil
Rough sketch of a raptor fossil

To this I decided to invite my classmates to be, wholly expecting maybe one or two people to join. To my pleasant surprise about 10 people responded. Of which 5 people turned up in the end.

Rough sketch of a Velociraptor fossil
Rough sketch of a Velociraptor fossil, it almost looks like a bird’s neck
Neave Parker's Reconstruction of a Hypsilophodon from the 1960s
Neave Parker’s Amazing Reconstruction of a Hypsilophodon from the 1960s

The exhibits were meticulously planned and composed allowing clear view of many prehistoric and present day animals. With the dinosaur exhibits it was clear that great care has gone into thinking about posture and movement by scientists over the years, we have come a long way from the 1854 reconstructions at Crystal Palace Park (Darren Naish, 2016) or Neave Parker’s beautiful but now considered factually inaccurate works from the 1960s (Natural History Museum, 2017).

Rough sketch of a sauropod's neck
Looking at the complicated shapes of this sauropod’s vertebrae

Another exhibit of great interest to the group was the aquatic mammals hall. One person remarked “What is that?!” when looking at the whale skeletons that hung from the ceiling. It would definitely, in my opinion, be difficult for someone to discern what they were looking at if they had never seen a cetacean skeleton before. I suppose this is where rumors of see monsters begin.

Rough sketch of a whale skeleton
Cetacean skeletons are so bizarre and other worldly
Rough sketch of dolphin and whale models
I loved how this display was set up, these dolphin and whale models seemed to almost be swimming over our heads.
Rough sketches of small mammals
The posture, curves and textures of the back of these mammals was worth staring at

When looking at an elephant skull I was reminded of a National Geographic Article that talks about the possibility that Greeks and Romans invented the Cyclops Myth when looking at Elephant bones, and I can understand why (Hillary Mayell, 2003).

Rough sketch of elephant skull
Rough sketch of elephant skull

All in all it was a great day of drawing the exhibits, getting to know animal anatomy and meeting my classmates.

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