Jurassic Park is my favorite movie. Even though I have watched this movie many times, I never turn down the opportunity to enjoy this movie again and again whenever it's shown on TV. I love all kinds of things related to dinosaurs. Everybody does, especially kids! It is interesting to know that before us such gigantic, strong, and wild creatures lived and stepped on the same land we do now. Sometimes I even imagine what the Earth would have been like if they hadn't gone extinct.
Driven by my curiosity and a memory of my childhood when I collected miniatures of dinosaurs, I decided to visit a museum, which unfortunately doesn’t exist in Indonesia: a Paleontological Museum.
Why don’t we have a Paleontological Museum? This question has been on my mind for a long time. I guess it is because no dinosaurs occupied our land in that era. Maybe the temperature was too high as always!
Orlov Paleontological Museum
This museum is still part of the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, and still related to the Zoological Museum, situated in the heart of Moscow. And how about this museum? This museum is located in Teply Stan (southern part of Moscow - orange line), which takes about thirty minutes to get to from the center by subway. A really unusual location in the middle of apartment complexes and some shopping centers.
Orlov itself is derived from the name of Academician Yuriy Aleksandrovich Orlov, a Soviet zoologist and paleontologist.
One of the things that I like about this museum is the facade. Like many other buildings in Russia, this museum has an interesting shape and is very suitable for selfie lovers.
The entrance fee is reasonably cheap at only 400-500 rubles. Although for me 500 rubles is enough to eat twice in a fast food restaurant and once in a coffee shop. And in Indonesia, for this amount of money you can eat four times.
Be careful! The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday because they usually do maintenance on Monday and Tuesday.
In the museum, you can rent an audio guide, or if you prefer to go around the museum independently and quietly, enjoying the shrieking kids full of enthusiasm, this is possible as well.
Rooms in The Museum
The exhibition in the museum occupies five main halls, which are connected by the main hall. The most unique thing that you can find in this area is the ceramic panel tower, the ‘Tree of Life’, that becomes a beginning and an end forming a closed sequence. The Tree of Life depicts periods of time starting from the prehistoric to the era of humans. And now let’s explore this museum hall by hall:
1. Introductory Hall
This hall is devoted to particular eras of geologic history of the earth. Here you can find a number of exhibits occupying the whole area. Most of them illustrate the organisms which lived on the earth hundreds of millions of years ago, and now are preserved as fossils. They also describe by pictures the birth of paleontology in Russia and the history of the museum itself.
The explanation is quite thorough and available in two languages - English and Russian. For people who can stand looking at unmoving tiny objects with long explanations, this room will be perfect for them to test their patience.
At the entrance of this hall you will find a life-size skeleton of a mammoth.
2. Precambrian and Early Paleozoic
Precambrian is the stage of earth that stretches from the planet's origins about 4.5 billion years ago until the beginning of the Cambrian period. And what is the Cambrian period? I would like to explain it to you in a simple way, but since I am not a paleontologist, I quote this ‘brief’ explanation from Wikipedia:
The Cambrian Period was the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cambrian lasted 55.6 million years from the end of the preceding Ediacaran Period 541 million years ago (mya) to the beginning of the Ordovician Period 485.4 mya. Its subdivisions, and its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established (as “Cambrian series”) by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latinised form of Cymru, the Welsh name for Wales, where Britain's Cambrian rocks are best exposed.
Do you understand this? If yes, please kindly explain it to me in the comments.
Briefly, this room is full of exhibits again. Different from the previous one that exhibits pictures and stones, these huge exhibits show you a group of invertebrates, algae, and bacteria - the main creatures that lived during that era. And on the right part of it, you can find the explanation about the development of the plant kingdom, starting from algae to angiosperm.
3. The Late Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic
The exhibits in this hall are mainly dedicated to the evolution of the creatures in the previous hall. According to the explanation that I skim-read, this era is divided into three periods - the Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian. To be brief, those are the periods of vertebrates’ evolution - amphibians, reptiles and mammals that also began the next era: Jurassic.
Mesozoic is also known as the “era of dinosaurs” that lasted from 200 to 65 million years ago. The life-size-skeleton casts of different types of dinosaurs are displayed throughout the hall, starting from the fiercest one, T-Rex a.k.a Tarbosaurus in Russia, to the kindest one, brachiosaurus.
This hall is suitable for kids and enthusiastic adults that are curious about how big the dinosaurs were. And yes, they were enormous and that is why I am so grateful that the mesozoic era didn’t last till nowadays. I don’t want dinosaurs like Tarbosaurus in my backyard thank you!
The Cenozoic era began around 65 million years ago and is the current era. At this stage, several groups of organisms that appeared in the previous era achieved their greatest evolutionary success. As a result, this era is known as the “Era of Mammals”, as most of the creatures that had survived the evolution were mammals.
My feedback on the museum:
Overall, this museum offers more than I could ever have imagined. I didn’t think that I would see so many skeletons in life size. I thought that it would just be full of dull explanation. But, believe me, whether you are kids or adults, science lovers or not, this museum is worth the visit.