Sunday, July 24, 2016

Visit to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

On Thursday, July 21, I visited the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. The museum is comprised of two levels and partitioned into themed halls, including North American Mammal Hall, African Mammal Hall, Dinosaur Hall, and Bird Hall. 

The exhibits featured in each hall contain combinations of dinosaur fossils, mammal fossils, and stationary artificial scenes containing both dinosaurs and mammals. For instance, African Mammal Hall contains stationary scenes of mammals:

And Dinosaur Hall contains dinosaur fossils:

Walking through the dinosaur exhibits, I was reminded of the movie Jurassic Park and the concept of deextinction – creating and reintroducing animals that have been declared extinct. As creation is at the core of artistic expression, it is reasonable to consider deextinction the ultimate act of creation. In 1993, when the movie was released, deextinction may have seemed like science fiction, but advances in biotechnology have enabled scientists to begin the process of deextinction for animals like the woolly mammoth and carrier pigeon (TED. “Stewart Brand...”). The basic process for deextinction is as follows:

1. Extract the DNA of the extinct species from preserved tissue
2. Splice the DNA of the extinct species with the extinct species closest living relative
3. Insert the DNA into undifferentiated stem cells
4. Transform the stem cell into sperm cells
5. Artificially inseminate the closest living relative with the sperm cells

This procedure was used to successfully create a Javan Banteng, an extinct cow-like mammal (TED. “Stewart Brand...”).
This museum is well-suited for fans of archeology, specifically dinosaurs. Museum-goers requiring exhibits which allow for physical interaction should avoid the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.


TED. “Hendrik Poinar: Bring back the woolly mammoth!” YouTube. YouTube, 30 May 2013. Web. 21 July 2016.

TED. “Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction. Are you ready?YouTube. YouTube, 13 Mar 2013. Web. 21 July 2016.

TED. “George Monbiot: For more wonder, rewild the world.YouTube. YouTube, 9 Sept 2013. Web. 21 July 2016.

Jurassic Park. Dir. Steven Spielberg. By Michael Crichton and David Koepp. Perf. Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Richard Attenborough. Universal Pictures, 1993.

Revive & Restore. The Long Now Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 July 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment