Sunday, 31 January 2010

Lions and tigers and igaunodons...?

Whilst I was in Bruxelles I was lucky enough to have hours to spend wandering in the Museum of Natural Sciences.

This would have to be the best museum I have ever visited anywhere in the world.

Such a well thought out and beautifully designed museum, albiet in one of the most ugly modern buildings you can imagine. But then I suppose the museum building is a testiment to the 60's and 70's and one day will be admired in some way. Personally, I think concrete monstrosities such as these are horrible, but that is my opinion.

Anyway, back to the museum contents.

One of the highlights is to visit the dinosaur gallery. They have the most amazing collection of Igaunodons discovered in the Bernissart coal mine in Belgium in March 1878. The collection of bones turned out to be the best in the world due to the quality and quantity of fossils found in this mine.

Luckily the mine work did not take precedent and the bones were all lifted and taken to the Belgian Royal Museum of Natural History. Careful drawings and excavation of the remains ensured that they could be reconstructed again in the position found in the mine, and each animal with its own remains.

The collection comprises 30 Igaunodon bernissartensis and at least 1 Igaunodon atherfieldensis. You can see some reconstructed remains in life position, as well as view some in the position they were discovered in the mine. Incredible display.

The mineral gallery was fabulous. Not as state of the art as the dinosaur gallery, but everything was easy to see and clearly labelled. I was really impressed by the specimens on display as well.

There was so much else to see and do there, which I will not write about today.

I cannot recommend it highly enough as a place to visit. Children are well catered to and the displays are labelled clearly (even if not in english). Guides and books can be purchased in english at the gift shop. The prices were very affordable in my opinion, and the only problem you will have is how to choose from the huge variety of books and other gifts on offer. As you can imagine my bags were groaning under the weight of the books I could not resist....


  1. Debbie,
    I haven't met Guy but this year, I hope!!!
    September 2009 was bad for me - thought I would get in touch with you while in Paris but got sick for 10 days shortly after arriving and then hospitalized at Hopital Cochin for 12 days. Tom got in to take me home so I spent almost a month in Paris but didn't really....... I have to make it up this year. Will let you know as soon as dates are confirmed.
    Your blog has kept me close to you and Wayne and of course, Guy, these past months. I look forward to a long visit with you in the fall; hoping you will not be in Australia at that time.
    A bientot et groses bises.

  2. How fabulous to be able to catch up, but how horrible that you were so sick!!

    I shall look forward to seeing you later in the year.

    BTW, how are your gorgeous grand daughters??