Monday, 6 July 2015

Dinosaurs and diamonds.

Remember on Friday we went up to London?

We had a bit of a rampage!

I should explain; we can't go anywhere - we can't travel. We're fighting to extend Robyn's visa but in the meantime we are stuck here.

Well, if we can't be tourists abroad we'll have to be tourists here and so we went to The Natural History Museum.

They've got a brand new dinosaur;

It's a real live Stegosaurus and very fine it looks too; a gift from a very rich person indeed.

They got lots of Plieosaurs and similar sea monsters because they are common in Dorset.

Unfortunately, the really exciting dinosaurs weren't so common in this part of the world and a lot of the ones on display are plaster casts.

This is the real thing and it's a very expensive monster indeed and it only just arrived a few months ago.

We do have a few monsters of our own - this is a Sabre-Toothed Tiger which used to roam around these parts;

Along with Hippo's, Rhino's and Wooly Mammoths.

I was very lucky - Robyn had taken her school kids there when she was still working and she wanted to see the rest of the Geological section.

I love minerals and, even though I can hear you sighing with boredom, I'm going to continue!

I'll try to win you over with some of my 'greatest hits' of the minerals I saw. And that isn't even including the piece of moon rock they have which I couldn't find (It's still there I checked on their website after we got back)

How about this section of a meteorite - cut in half and polished;

You know it's off-world because it's a composite of metal and stone and you just don't get that here. They also had a meteorite from Mars although their really great specimens weren't on show when we were there.

Now this has got to be impressive even if the photo isn't so good; it's a huge opal from Australia but shown under fluorescent light so that it ripples with colours;

It was just electrifying.

And what about this - it's a 200 million year old section of seashore, preserved because it was quickly overlain with mud which preserved the actual ripples in the sand.

Except just before that happened a dinosaur walked over it leaving it's mucky footprints for us to see today;

 This ammonite is about a metre high and is cut in section to show the chambers preserved inside the shell. After fossilisation, it was mineralised which has turned it into a kind of crystalline marble;

And they have a great gem section with all the Diamonds, Sapphires and semi-precious gems you could hope for; 

This is one of my favourites, Tourmaline, not so expensive but really beautiful all the same. There's a raw crystal as well as some of the cuts;

We were there for three long hours and I was in agony by the end of it, struggling through masses of tourists (like us!) and with the lifts broken down.


As they were about to throw us out, we made it to the main entrance and into the big dinosaur zone.

Only a mother could love this;

How about this sea monster;

There was a big animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex which I was very impressed with even if Robyn dismissed him as "very 80's";

But I did warn her at the start that I was only 13 years old.

Who could not be impressed with the main entrance - it's a Diplodocus having it's selfie taken;

We staggered out, just as the doors were closing, having missed the entire modern section and exhibits.
I took loads of photos, too many to post. I was particularly impressed with the collection of sea dinosaurs collected by Mary Anning of Lyme Regis, an uneducated villager who found her first fossil at thirteen and got the collecting bug.
She became the foremost expert, a pioneer to whom all the 'experts' came in the early years of the 19th century and who we have to thank for such an impressive collection.
The rest of the rampage?
That's going to have to wait till tomorrow, I'm still aching now.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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