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Monday 4th October 2010
There, we could wander through exhibits of the many species hunted to extinction by man, and those poised on the brink.
Biodiversity vs excessive hunting on exhibit
Museums are wonderful places, they really are. They document the richness and diversity of our culture, scientific achievements, and the natural history of life on earth through the very many millions of years of evolution.
Museums, especially those dealing with art, have “travelling” exhibits that are hugely popular – many cooperate to assemble the works of Dali, Picasso, van Gogh, the “impressionists”, etc. As another travelling exhibit, remember the massively popular King Tut treasures? Highly attended, very educational…
So, how about a new travelling exhibit in this year of biodiversity – called the Three Halls of Shame? There, we could wander through exhibits of the many species hunted to extinction by man, and those poised on the brink.
We could start with a first hall representing those species that went extinct long ago like the giant ground sloth, the cave bear, the cave lion, the American camel, the aurochs, the Irish Elk - and then proceed to the second hall where we find the more recent ones like the dodo, the passenger pigeon, the Carolina parakeet, the bluebuck, the quagga, the Great Auk, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Steller’s sea cow, the Tasmanian wolf. Just a short list of course – there are also the Caspian Tiger, the Bali Tiger, the Barbary Lion, the Yangtze dolphin, the Pyrenean ibex, the Mexican grizzly bear etc, etc.
The last hall would show those poised on the very edge. This would have to be a very big hall, since there are so many.
It would be a dramatic and educational exhibit. Much more effective than just a newspaper or scientific journal report of another species gone away forever. The world museums would have to collaborate in gathering together the specimens for the exhibit (few museums have a stuffed dodo…), but they are good at that. And the impact would be significant – though Monet will probably always draw greater crowds.
Anyone out there who knows directors of Natural History museums, let’s make a plan?
Posted by Pieter Kat at 00:00
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