Archive for May, 2011

Onto the extant mollusks at the Natural History Museum. The museum with which I am most acquainted, AMNH in New York, has lots of preserved specimens, but not that many invertebrates. They really focus on the mammal dioramas there and the creepy halls of stuffed birds. The NMNH in DC, in addition to doing the taxidermy thing, is not afraid of stuff in jars, including giant squid!Here’s one.

And here’s the other one, laid out horizontally, which really does give a better effect. I was excited to see how many people were constantly crowded around this. It’s also about as gory a thing as you’re likely to see in a museum, frankly. Well, I haven’t been to the Mütter Museum, which is likely a notable exception.
Also a clubhook squid.
There were also plenty of seashells to be seen, as you can see here.
Next up, the fossils! Here’s a teaser:

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OK, so this trip to DC. It was like mollusk overload! Not really, I can’t overload on mollusks. The two big things on my DC itinerary were the zoo and the Natural History Museum. The forecast called for rain on Saturday and sun on Sunday, so that made that decision pretty easy.

The main goal at the Natural History Museum was to see the crocheted coral reef, which was indeed incredible. There were so many different parts to the exhibit, and they had a zoologist and a crocheter on hand to talk to people.

One friend I was with had the interesting if somewhat philosophical question: Is coral rock? The zoologist said no, but clearly at some point coral becomes rock, right? The Guadalupe Mountains in Texas are primarily a coral reef from the Permian Period, for example, and I’m quite sure people would say that’s rock. At what point does coral achieve rockness?

But back to the crochet and the mollusks. I was delighted to see that mollusks were represented among the crocheted organisms.

Like this octopus! Well, unless it’s a jellyfish. I didn’t actually count the tentacles.

I like to think this curly thing on the floor is a nudibranch. But then again it’s just as likely it’s a marine flatworm like Pseudobiceros hancockanus. Hrm.

OK, this one! This one’s definitely a clam. Phew.

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