Sunday, March 30, 2008

Palaeontological Treasures from Russia Exhibition in Seoul

From December 14th to February 10th of this year, the Russian Natural History Museum held its "Paleontological Treasures from Russia Exhibition" in Seoul. I was lucky enough to attend this amazing exhibition of many rare and valuable fossils from Russia - including Tarbosaurus, Permian therapsids, and Dima, the exceptionally well-preserved baby mammoth.

This was the largest overseas exhibition of Russian natural history in 70 years, with a combined material weight of over 10,000 tons. Unfortunately, photography was not permitted in the exhibit, but I managed to get a few shots off before seven Korean "attendants" swarmed me! The highlights represented in this post are only a fraction of the entire show. (The last time I was asked to stop taking pictures was in le Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle en Paris! Zut Alors!)


Tarbosaurus bataar -
The Asian relative of Tyrannosaurus rex, Tarbosaurus lived 70-65 million years ago in Mongolia and China. It is so similar to it's North American cousin that some scientists believe it is the same genus! This cast was beautiful and a highlight (as I had never seen a Tarbosaurus before), but was mounted in an (incorrect) semi-erect pose with its tail dragging on the ground. It was an amazing introduction to the Russian Exhibition.

Tarbosaurus bataar in life- by Peter Bond

Intro to Palaeontology -

Me in the Jurassic - Blue-screen technology!

After the basic 'Origin of Life on Earth' exhibit, the Russian Exhibition showcased many great fossils of Russian plants, invertebrates, fish, and amphibians.


Scutosaurus - A plant-eating therapsid (mammal-like reptile closely related to us) with armour on it's head and back. Scutosaurus lived 250-248 million years ago in Russia, before dinosaurs evolved.
Scutosaurus in life - by Peter Bond

Gorgonopsid - A carnivorous theraspid that lived contemporaneously with Scutosaurus in Russia, Gorgonopsids had well-developed 12-inch long incisors. It is not sure if they were covered with scales, skin or fur.
Gorgonopsid in life - by Peter Bond

Estemmenosuchus - An omnivorous Therapsid who lived in the Permian in Russia as well, Estemmenosuchus had a surprisingly unusual face with multiple horns projecting outwards.
Estemmenosuchus in life - by Peter Bond

Woolly Mammoths -
Woolly Mammoth in life - by Peter Bond

Dima, the Baby Mammoth -

The most notable artifact in the Russian Exhibition was the exceptionally well-preserved body of a baby mammoth, named Dima. From what I could tell, this was not a cast, but the actual specimen with its trunk and skin intact. There was even a small amount of actual hair around the back feet. Besides being slightly squished, the mammoth's last meal of chewed grass was still preserved, 40,000 years later!

a family of Mammoths

a family of Mammoths - cute style!

As well as the mentioned highlights, the exhibit also contained another juvenile Tarbosaurus, an ornithomimid, an Asian duck-bill, and a Deinonychus climbing a tree!

There was also a hilarious children's play area...

Tyrannosaurus rex Play Head!

It's amazing how happy this child is in the JAWS OF DEATH!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Raptor Footprint found in Korea

SEOUL - A two-toed footprint has been found that proves dromaeosaurs (or raptors) lived in Korea.

It is reported here that the unique footprint was found in 100 - 110 million year old strata at a site in Namhae-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do (South central Korea).

The fossil is unique as it is only the fourth raptor footprint fossil found worldwide, along with ones from USA and China.

Palaeontologists think the footprint belongs to a raptor because only the impression shows only two of its three walking toes. The third inner toe carried the infamous "killer claw" and was held off the ground (presumably to keep the claw sharp).

I have also discovered that there are many sites of fossil footprints and egg shells and nests in southern Korea. Check back for further updates on these finds.

So it seems that dinosaurs have followed me to Korea!

Startled by a huge Dromaeosaurus while working at the Badlands Science Camp at the Royal Tyrrell Museum

Friday, March 21, 2008

Seonuydo Island - A Photographic Study

Seonuydo Island (do means island in Korean - Seonuy Island) is located in the middle of the Han River in the soul of Seoul (heh, sorry!) It is an old water treatment plant that has been transformed into a beautiful eco park. If ever there was a place to take amazing photos, this is it.

Last Saturday, my roommate Stephen and I, and our visiting friends Robin, Chezu and her friend jumped on the subway and the photographic expedition began...

Steve's flash went off at exactly the same time I took this shot!

Walkway up to the bridge to the island.

Steve and I wrestling

Park and cycle path on the banks of the Han river.

Banks of the Han.

The rainbow bridge to the island.

Bubble Bee.

Two Hearts.

Bamboo Forest.

Korean Woman's Struggle.

Spring Love.

Mind of a Korean Businessman.

Stone Forest.

Industrial Beauty.

Steve in mid-jump. After three attempts, he managed to jump up 5 feet.
Well done, Steve.


My band will be here soon...

Parting Shot. (my favorite)