Sunday, April 04, 2010

Daytrip to Frankfurt's Senckenberg Museum

Easter sunday we spent a day in Frankfurt (mainly because I wanted to see the hominid exhibition). When we arrived at the Senckenberg Museum we were sent away again "the special exhibition is just around the corner!". When we turned around the corner the first thing we saw was a hastily put up container building.
And indeed, it housed the exhibition called 'Safari zum Urmensch' ( Yes, it looks terrifying, but the interior was quite ok:

The exhibiton was quite modern and not too scientific, still it explained the principles of the work of anthropologists quite well (from digging up fossils over dating methods to laser technology for 3D editing).
A unique dating method in which one looks at the change in pig molars (which obviously changed very distinctive and rapidly):

Although a lot of the fossils and all (!) of the Palaeolithic art they exhibited were replicas some fossils were really impressive:

Ida, the oldest primate, Darwinius masillae (Grube Messel)

Proconsul, Kenia

Paranthropus aethiopicus, Lake Turkana (look at that beautiful crest of his)

The description of the fossils lacked detail and some English explanations would have been welcome. Well, I guess the braille used too much space already. There also was  not a single mention of the hobbit (Homo floreniensis). How come? This important hominin was discovered seven years ago (!) and the exhibition claimed to be on the crest of the most recent discoveries. Of course I didn't expect the Denisova hominin to be mentioned, although it would have been a nice surprise.

Bottom line: good for a nice stroll through the container, good for kids who are interested in 'ape-men', people who are interested in anthropology (e.g. if you know that the hobbit lived not only in Middle Earth but also in Indonesia) save your money and go to visit the new permanent exhibiton at the Smithsonian National Museum, Washington DC.

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