Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

I hadn't been to this place since I was a toddler. This statue of Stegosaurus at the entrance is likely among my earliest memories. On this occasion, it was in the snow, an unlikely prospect in the Morrison 155 Ma.

The mount of "Jane" the juvenile tyrannosaurid in the entrance lobby was new to me.

One of the first halls one can visit upon getting inside the museum (and one that I still have memories of from my toddler years) places an emphasis on human interaction with the environment. The very first exhibit here introduces visitors to "the most dangerous animal" and some of its historical victims, such as the passenger pigeon...

... and the Carolina parakeet.

The rest of the hall showcases ecosystems from around the world, integrating information on both native cultures and wildlife. Many individual objects that I held memories of turned out (understandably) to be smaller than I remembered them, but these exhibits that towered to the ceiling retained much of their fabled grandeur.

A selection of our summer birds that spend their winters in South America.

A dynamic mount of a leopard going after a springbok, while other African animals look on.

A depiction of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem.

Appropriate for the occasion (as I was visiting over Thanksgiving break), some turkeys as examples of native wildlife.

The exhibit case showcasing the Everglades.

A black bear mounted investigating a turtle.

Display on the mound-building Native Americans in Ohio.

In addition to mounted specimens, a detour takes one outdoors where live specimens of local species are exhibited. This is a red-shouldered hawk, a fabulously patterned Buteo that is, in my experience, often first heard before being seen.

A pair of barred owls.

A great horned owl.

A living representative of the Thanksgiving theropod.

Not turkeys, but turkey vultures and an American crow, in my opinion two of our most underappreciated native birds.

A barn owl.

Some river otters.

A northern raccoon.

A red fox.

This coyote was quite lively.

Stopping for some fruit snacks.

A pair of sandhill cranes.

Back inside the main building, the fossil hall is up next. Here is a mastodon.

Across from it, a mammoth for comparison.

Saber-toothed cat trapped in between.

Traveling further back in time, an oreodont.

Further still, Gastornis.

A famous match-up dominates one half of the hall (the other is given to Allosaurus and Haplocanthosaurus).

... Right.

A mosasaur suspended from the ceiling.

A cast of the London Archaeopteryx with an above-average life restoration.


One of the stars of the show, Dunkleosteus.

Here is its fossil skull.

This shrew and platypus are part of a large display depicting the extant diversity of life.

At this point I began neglecting photography, which was a shame because there was also a nice temporary exhibit on proboscidean evolution open during my visit that in retrospect I could have taken pictures of.