The Life Science Hall introduces visitors to the wonders of nature. The hall is divided into several exhibit units: Gateway to the Living World, The Origin of Life, The Evolution of Plants, Life Takes to the Land, The Age of Dinosaurs, Flight, Extinction, The Evolution and Adaptability of Mammals, The Story of Man,The Journey of Human Life, Numbers and Forms, Color in Nature and Sounds in Nature.
1F Gateway to the Living World
In this exhibit area there are eight very large models which illustrate the ingenuity of nature. They include a translucent sea jelly two meters in diameter, a human nerve cell stretching from the floor to the ceiling, a piece of kelp four meters in height and a virus 2.5 meters in height.
1F The Origin of Life
This area explores the origins of life through 22 exhibit units, one of which features a simulated volcano that erupts at regular intervals, and a view of the earth 3.8 billion years ago before there was oxygen. Frequent volcanic eruptions resulted in the formation of water on the earth’s surface and the beginning of primitive life. Rock and fossil specimens reveal traces of the history of life. In addition, two alternative theories on how life developed are introduced, while yet another exhibit unit tells about the basic unit of life—the cell.
1F The Evolution of Plants
This section contains both indoor displays and an outdoor garden. Inside, visitors are encouraged to explore the foundation of life—plants. Both higher and lower plants are introduced, as well as the process of plant evolution, plant morphology, reproductive methods, and the roles and functions of plants in ecology. The outdoor garden provides a welcome retreat, and the opportunity to view plant communities and plant habitats.
1F Life Takes to the Land
Scientists theorize that marine animals struggled to taketo the land as soon as it was formed, billions of years ago. However, their success came long after that of plants. Plants first appeared near the water 400 million years ago. However, it was not until some 50 million years later that animals managed to establish themselves on land, in areas where plants were already flourishing.
This unit guides visitors through the process of life taking to dry land. The sea and land environments before and after life took to the land are introduced. In addition, we learn how animals adapted to their new environment, through ingenious systems that evolved to aid in foraging, breathing, circulation, excretion, reproduction and movement.
Another exhibit shows two existing reptiles, the crocodile and python, to give a basic under standing of reptilecharacteristics.
1F The Age of Dinosaurs
During the Mesozoic Era, from 228 million to 65 million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the earth. In 1822, British physician Gideon Mantell discovered the first dinosaur fossil—a jawbone. In the more than 190 years since Dr. Mantell’s find, a large number of dinosaur fossils have been unearthed all over the world. Through research, identification and restoration work, paleontologists now have a clearer picture of dinosaur anatomy and muscle structure, and can build reconstructions to relive the age of dinosaurs.
In August of 2004, renovations to the Dinosaur Gallery were completed. The most obvious addition is an animated Tyrannosaurus rex model measuring four meters in height and seven meters in length. There is also a pair of animated models of Velociraptors which demonstrate how these predators took down their prey. Other exhibits of interest include the bones of an Ankylosaurus, fossilized specimens of an Oviraptor group that was buried together, and Tyrannosaurus rex skull and skeleton. On the 2nd floor are more exhibits including those that answer the question, “What are dinosaurs?” Archaeopteryx is also introduced. Don’t forget to look up to see ancient flying reptiles gliding overhead.
Animals have evolved over a relatively short space of time, some 200 million years.First, there were fish that were unable to leave the water. Later, amphibians appeared and were able to spend some time on land. Then, reptiles took completely to the land, and adapted well. Warm-blooded birds with special characteristics such as wings and feathers, took to the skies.
This unit introduces how birds evolved from reptiles, including structural changes, and the muscles, bone structure and feathers that enable birds to fly. Also explained are the basic principles of flight. A film reveals the grace and beauty of flying birds, and compares the flight of insects, ancient flying reptiles and the only flying mammal.
This unit reminds us that the phenomena of extinction still exist, explains Darwin’s theory of natural selection and shows that the mechanism of extinction promotes evolution. It also vividly describes the destructive behaviors of man that are leading to mass extinctions.
2F The Evolution and Adaptability of Mammals
This unit is comprised of a series of exhibits that look at how mammals have adapted in terms of size, body structure and behavior, to better match their environments. In addition, this area features a variety of mammal specimens. The selected animals are from different continents and climatic zones, and are shown in their simulated natural habitats.
Another exhibit in this unit describes the appearance of early man, and how primates, in tropical rain forest and savanna, gradually evolved the characteristics of upright stance and increased cranial capacity
2F The Story of Man
Excavated fossils and tools, as well as corresponding ethnological information, have enabled us to gradually piece together outlines of human and cultural evolution.
This unit describes the history of man from the time he first appeared to the present. Included are descriptions of the archeological work and research achievements that have been used to decipher the many clues left behind regarding human evolution. In addition, higher primates and their important human ancestors such as Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Neanderthal man and Cro-magnon man are described.
2F The Journey of Human Life
Birth, aging, sickness and death are events that we must all face. This exhibit area is divided into four sections, one devoted to each of the above topics. Contents include scientific knowledge about the human body, disease prevention methods and the concepts related to the preciousness of life.
Through images and models, visitors are introduced to the miracle of life from the fertilization of an ovum, to the development of a fetus and finally to the process of birth. Another exhibit features a computer simulation that lets you watch yourself age. Through the use of medical technology, visitors can view the condition of various parts of the body affected by disease. Cultural artifacts, specimens and exhibits show different ways that have been developed to preserve the body after death.
The lively and some interactive exhibits and some rare or valuable specimens or artifacts allow visitors to learn how the human body grows and develops, as well as build awareness of disease prevention, self-affirmation, and value concepts of the preciousness of life.
B1 Numbers and Forms
This unit relates how the forms found in nature help us to understand nature’s mysteries, as well as how nature and its phenomena have inspired man to research and develop the field of mathematics. In addition to describing the important mathematical achievements of various civilizations, this unit introduces the geometrical mysteries concealed in nature, and explores various mathematical concepts, such as those of the theory of relativity, which is at the center of modern physics.
B1 Color in Nature
What is light? What is color? What are their natures and characteristics? What information do they communicate? How do plants and animals respond to light and color? How do creatures in the wild use light and color to survive? How does man use light and color to create art and lift his spirits? This unit helps us to understand the answers to all of these questions.
B1 Sounds in Nature
Hearing is an irreplaceable sense, and sound is a means by which animals and man communicate and understand their surroundings. This unit presents to us the sounds made by a number of animals, as a prelude to the exhibits which introduce sounds in nature and sounds created by man such as with musical instruments.