By Museum of Natural Sciences (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences)
Museum of Natural Sciences (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences)
With a surface area of over 3000 m2 and dozens of specimens, the Dinosaur Gallery is the largest room in Europe entirely devoted to dinosaurs, their discovery, lives and evolution. On your right, our stars: the Bernissart Iguanodons. Thirty relatively complete iguanodon skeletons were discovered 322m underground in a coal mine in Bernissart, Belgium at the end of the 19th century. Since the bones were still in their original position, it was possible to present the skeletons in ‘lifelike’ poses. They immediately attracted visitors from all over the world!
In the first part of our Gallery of Humankind, 25 different hominid species illustrate our prolific evolution, and what an evolution! From Toumaï the Sahelanthropus tchadensis to our species, Homo sapiens – the only one still around –, via Lucy the Australopithecus afarensis, and the Man of Spy, a Belgian Homo neanderthalensis. Using the life-size 3D reconstructions, you can compare yourself to 15 of these hominids.
The second part of our Gallery of Humankind openly and honestly explores the human body, from the embryo to adulthood. You can see a collection of foetuses preserved in formalin for 100 years, children’s and adults’ skeletons, plastinated organs, projections on life-size models that illustrate pregnancy, the body in movement and the nervous and digestive systems.
You are now in the Mosasaur Hall. Strangely, not many people have ever heard of those gigantic predatory lizards who roamed the seas at the time when the dinosaurs ruled the continents. Here, you can admire a 12.5-metre-long Belgian specimen, Hainosaurus bernardi, compare the anatomy of the mosasaurs with that of reptiles and other modern-day animals, understand the mechanics of how they swam, and much more.
In 250 Years of Natural Sciences are the fantastic results of memorable scientific expeditions, unusual excavations, moving events and remarkable specimens that trace the evolution of our Museum. For example, discover all about the first international scientific expedition to the South Pole led by the Belgian Adrien de Gerlache in 1897-1898. And hear the heartbreaking howl of the very last Tasmanian wolf died in captivity in 1936.
In the Gallery of Evolution, you will travel through billions of years of the Earth’s history, stopping off at six key moments in the evolution of life on earth: the Cambrian explosion, the proliferation of aquatic life during the Devonian era, the conquest of land during the Carboniferous period, the swarming seas of the Jurassic era, the appearance of mammals in the Eocene period, and the impact of humans in the present day.
Muséum des Sciences naturelles (Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique)