Mar 15, 2008

The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity: Nature comes alive!

A bunch of TeamSeagrass and Naked Hermit Crabs spent a happy afternoon under the able guidance of Sijie (at rightmost top) who hosted us to a special look at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research during the Museum's Open House.(Oops, we couldn't find any seagrass exhibits. And the Algae section was the nearest thing we could find. But please don't tell Siti or she will kill us...)

Sijie was a fabulous guide, introducing us to Singapore's marvellous biodiversity...
With fascinating stories to bring all the specimens to life.

We saw some of our favourite shore creatures, like never before!HUMUNGOUS mantis shrimp, Sam's hand for scale. WOW! And this monster was taken from the East Coast...hmmm...I'm sure NOT from the seafood restaurants there :-)

There were also an enormous jellyfish, basket star and lots of strange worms.Including this one which looks very much like what Budak posted recently on his budak blog.

And YC's 'favourite' animal was there too!The mysterious Giant Fish Scale, whose story is told here.

Sijie shares lots of background of the specimes there. Like the one behind the skull of the dugong (photo on the left) which was rescued from a dugong carcass that was found on the East Coast in July 2001. Siva tells the whole lurid story on the RMBR newsletter. (The leopard cat and other animals featured in this article were also in the museum).
Sijie also shared about the poor little turtles in the bottle (photo on the right). These were the ones who didn't make it during the Big Turtle Hatchling rescue in May 2006, again on the East Coast, all the details on Siva's habitatnews. Sijie also pointed out a gruesome detail of the giant shark jaw displayed there (you'll just have to go to the Museum to find out for yourself).

And around the corner, past the strange Coelacanth, was a slab of wood with a remarkable story.Sijie tells of the tragic felling of this last 'Changi tree' (Hopea sangal). Full details on Siva's A Changi Heritage website.

And there was lots LOTS more. The amazing large animals of truly surprising Singapore.A special feature on frogs and rats (to commemorate this being the Year of the Frog and Year of the Rat). And whole bunch more!
Sijie ended the tour with a thought-provoking discussion of the Dodo. Whose demise is so tragic that not even a complete specimen of it exists. Only the head and a right foot. This replica at the Museum is believed to be the most accurate representation of the bird lost to man's greed and thoughtless action.

The Open House is still on tomorrow, more details on the wildsingapore happenings blog. Do drop by if you can. It's a magical place and a wonderful introduction to our fascinating natural heritage.
I tried out my new compact camera today. And tested it on the smallest specimen in the exhibit.Not too bad...
Alas, halfway through the trip, the LCD display conked out...sigh. I'm just useless with consumer cameras. Back to lugging the monstrous cameras I suppose.


Sam said...

thank you for organising this ria.. singaporeans should be able to learn more about their natural history and RMBD a great place to start! And Sijie, you were a great guide. Thanks for the amazing and insightful stories.

SGM said...

Thanks Ria, for organising the trip down to RMBR too:) There was so much to learn and see!an awesome day it was.n thanks Sijie for being a great and cheerie guide. N not forgetting the 'treat'- thanks!:)

SJ said...

Thanks to Ria for organising the trip, otherwise I'll probably be taxidermised naturally sitting in my office... which is what I'm doing now...

Thanks. Was a little stressed considering having to guide so many experience Nature guides... Haha... Not a bad experience thou. =D

ria said...

We should thank YOU Sijie for making it such a great trip. We learnt so much from you. You introduced such a vast array of issues, ideas and stories. And in such an enjoyable way too. I take my hat off to you!

Oh no, we must untaxidermise you then. Not to worry, field trips coming up soon! :-)