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Half term trips: The National Museum of Scotland


Last week me mum, dad, Harry and Sam all went to the new National Museum of Scotland which is in Edinburgh. It isn't really a new museum but they closed it for years to move things about. It reopened about two months ago and now it's even better.

The picture above is of the big natural history gallery. They have moved all the animals around and mixed them all up. Here are some of the things that I saw when I visited.

 To get into the Natural History gallery you have to walk through a big hall, and past a skeleton of a Giant Irish Elk. I haven't put a picture of it up because I wrote about it when I was at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, and Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow has one too. Every museum seems to have one. It must be the law. Anyway, when you go in the gallery, the first thing you see is this huge Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton over you which is really cool.

 Further on there was this big crocodile skull and behind it you can the legs of a Megatherium Americanum which is a type of huge ground sloth which I wrote about when I was at the museum in Paris in June.

 This lion pride was pretty cool.

 In the old museum they used to put the same animals together, but in the new museum they mix the animals up. This is a tiger, a red kangaroo and a sika deer and this display is showing how fast they all run. That is good if are new to animals but bad if you are trying to find a particular animal. 

 This is a display of animal skulls that shows what their teeth are like. The skulls are a tiger, human, anteater, walrus, horse and crab-eating seal. It said the tigers teeth were like a steak knife, to dig into meat, and the human was like a Swiss army knife because it eat all kind of things.

 The displays were aimed at people who don't know about bones, but sometimes there was interesting stuff like this.

 There is an island in Scotland called Rum which is important to deer scientists because it had red deer, and they can't move off the island, so you can watch the same deer for years and years. Here are a collection of antlers gathered from the island. They are far cooler than my antlers.

 There was a display on how lots of types of animals all grew massive canine teeth, even though they weren't related, because they found the teeth were useful to stay alive and catch food. All the animals are called sabre-toothed. This is a marsupial called Thylacosmilus atrox.

 This is almost the same, but it is a sabre-tooth nimravid called Hoplophoneus primaevus.

 This is the one every remembers as a sabre-toothed tiger, but it's not a tiger it's a sabre-toothed cat called smilodon fatalis. There was one of these at the museum in Paris too.

 Elephant teeth are very unusual. New teeth grow at the back and get pushed forward to the front. When the front ones wear out, the ones behind take their place. This is a fairly bonkers way of having teeth,

 Higher up in the gallery you could see the skeletons above. This is a Stellers Sea Cow.

 In the kids discovery zone there was a whole Stegosaurus skeleton, which was a pretty cool place to put it. It even had the bit of armour over its neck.

 This is a crushed ancient reptile skull, but I am not sure what type.

 This is the first polar bear skull found in Scotland. It is 22,000 years old, which is about as old as Mrs McPhee.

 This is a ringed seal skeleton found in Scotland. They normally live in the Arctic so this shows that Scotland used to be a lot colder than what it is now.

 This shows out of ancient people made tools out of bones, especially metatarsals and metacarpals.

 This is a sculpture of whale bones made by an artist called Andy Goldsworthy.

I would give the museum ten out of ten and I hope to go back some other time. I was hoping to find a clouded leopard skull so I could compare with one of my skulls, but I didn't find it. I even emailed the museum before I went but they didn't reply. But apart from that it is really good.

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Psydrache said...

Oooohh, thats a REAL cool museum! When I'm in Scotland again, I have to visit it instead of old castles, haha ^^
If you are in Switzerland one time, you have to visit the museum in Bern or in Basel, they are maybe not that big, but the one in Bern is a little jewel.

Jake said...

Cool ! Thanks for the tip ! The best bone museum I have been to in Scotland is the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum in Dundee. It is tiny but amazing !

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