What happens when two grown-up nerds are let loose in the American Museum of Natural History to mingle with a diverse cross-section of nature and humanity? There’s only one way to find out…
We made our way across town to pay a visit to one of the world’s best purveyors of cultural and scientific information to the masses. Having limited time to peruse the exhibitions, we made a beeline for the famous fourth floor’s hall of fossils.
Though this probably isn’t news to many of you familiar with the Museum of Natural History: dinosaurs are everywhere up there! I immediately became entranced by a row of triceratops skulls – arranged by development stage – to my left. It’s no wonder that folks in the “olden days” believed in dragons!
Annetta, meanwhile, was drawn deeper into the hall’s innards, leisurely perusing examples of the paraceratherium, sky turtles, and the Irish elk.
A wire-frame paraceratherium, the largest land mammal to have ever lived!
See how the majestic sky turtle soars through the rafters!
Extinct Irish Elk, why do your antlers look like Rorschach blots?
A few minutes later she stumbled upon a group of camel skeletons about the size of your average golden retriever. She’d taken a particular liking to them. Then, two women entered her bubble, conversing:
Lady 1: Oh! Look at those stupid camels.
Lady 2: [reading display sign] That’s bullshit! Why can’t they tell how old they are?
Lady 1: It’s hard to date things that old, so they give a date-range.
Lady 2: Well that’s ridiculous. The world’s only 6000 years old anyway.
Lady 1: What? How do you know that?
Lady 2: The Bible.
Yup… What were such a pair doing in a museum like the AMNH? What could they possibly hope to get out of their visit?
Meandering onward, we learned – much to our surprise! – that horses and whales actually share a branch on the animal family tree. Somehow this information prepared us to be channeled in the direction of a herd/pride/group of mammoth at the end of this particular hall. A group of twenty-somethings were perusing the mammoths:
Gentleman One: It’s not as big as I thought it would be.
Gentleman Two: I’m waiting to find the rest of the Power Rangers.
Again, what the hell?
Downstairs we partook in a bit of a respite from the crowd. Carefully pinned butterflies butted positioned next to lobsters pickled in jars were adjacent to a skeletal dodo bird witnessing a battle royale endangered animals that would never be neighbors in the real world. Smoke was beginning to pour from my ears.
All in all, while I had expected that my first visit to the AMNH would be memorable, I didn’t foresee it being on account of the other museum-goers (Annetta excluded, though she’s memorable in her own, fabulous way).
Over all, the experience was very fun, very unexpected, and very overwhelming. Next time, I definitely need to spend more time in the ocean area of the museum. Perhaps it will be slightly less controversial/disappointing to those around me. I mean, who could possibly argue with the giant squid versus sperm whale diorama?