Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World will see visitors embark on a journey through land, air and ocean to uncover the key roles that bones play in animal movement, survival and evolution.
The exhibition draws on the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s vast osteology collection and has been developed entirely by the Great North Museum team. It is the second original natural history exhibition at the Museum since it re-opened in 2009, following Spineless in 2015.
Complete skeletons, individual bones, baleen (the filter-feeder system in the mouths of baleen whales), teeth, horns and more from over 100 different animals will be shown in the exhibition, alongside important fossils and preserved specimens.
It is hoped that the sheer range of material on display – from enormous rhino skulls and moose antlers to tiny frog, bat and salamander skeletons – will fill visitors with a sense of wonder at the diversity of the natural world and also demystify some of its secrets.
Some of the highlight objects in the exhibition include a 3-metre long piece of baleen, a narwhal skull complete with tusk and the skull of a Gaboon viper, the world’s largest species of venomous snake. Other objects have their own fascinating histories, having been amassed over the centuries by the NHSN. Visitors will see: bones from the now-extinct dodo, collected from a swamp in Mauritius; antelope horns collected in the Congo; and the skeleton of an Andean condor which came to the Museum on a steamer from Chile over 100 years ago.
The exhibition will be divided into three main zones on the themes of Change, Movement and Survival. The Change zone explores the reasons why some bones become fossils when others crumble away, whilst also examining what bones can tell us about how animals looked and where they lived in the past. The Movement zone explains why bones are the key to understanding how animals move across land, sea and sky, whilst the Survival zone investigates why skeletons, teeth, tusks, horns and antlers make all the difference when it comes to staying alive.
This must-see family-friendly exhibition runs until May 14th 2017.