Parade of Skeletons at the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy
- 4 months ago
The Gallery of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology, one of the many components of the National Museum of Natural History, holds one of the most beautiful and comprehensive collection of bones in the world.
Inaugurated in 1898, the gallery was created to preserve and present to the public collections of great historic and scientific importance, that were made from the great expeditions of the traveller-naturalists of the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum consist of two floors each consisting of a staggering collection of fossil bones and reconstructed skeletons of a variety of vertebrates including prehistoric animals.
The most astounding of them is the Gallery of Comparative Anatomy where over 1,000 animal skeletons are packed from wall to wall along the length of the gallery room. The skeletons all face the same direction creating an illusion of a massive parade of the dead as visitors enter the space.
With a variety of specimens ranging from current generation mammals and reptiles to the extinct, the displays strive to present direct comparison between bone structures, making similarities between species more obvious and evolutionary adaptations for land, sea and air apparent.
This museum was founded in 1635 when Louis XIII's physician laid out a herb garden here, which soon grew into a large botanical garden and fifteen years later, the garden was thrown open to the public. The aristocrat and naturalist George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-88) extended the garden into a park, laid out partly in the English style and partly in rigorously geometric style. The Musee d’Histoire Naturelle was formally founded in 1793 during the French Revolution. The 19th century saw the erection of the iron and glass galleries of paleontology, botany and mineralogy, with greenhouses, an aviary and exhibition buildings.
Another interesting sight at the museum is the Great Gallery of Evolution, where one is introduced to the story of evolution of various species through dozens of taxidermy specimens.