A true love story

As some of you perhaps know I have a strange fascination for scientific and odd creatures (no, this doesn’t include Alexander – they are dead mostly). Therefore I took my chance tonight and went to the late exhibition of the Natural History Museum and booked a ticket for the ‘behind the scenes’-tour. We already did this tour some years ago but I was curious if something has changed. For example the museum has now 23 million exhibits instead of 22 million (and these are only those which are put in formaldehyde – all exhibits of the museum count 80 million).

The tour guide was a very cute lady with a good sense of Humor who works with the Museum for years. She told us a “true love story“: when she showed us this deep sea lantern fish she explained that only the females look like this:

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Their surviving strategy is to switch on their little lamp to attract smaller fish and sea animals – their food. But how do the males look like? Hmmm – I’d say less present:

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Since they are so small and don’t have a light they have to attach to a female to get food. Scientists didn’t realize for a long time that these creatures are the men and not parasits (like in real life they are probably both). But since about five or more males live ‘with’ one female and build something like a feminist harem you could ask: where is the love? After our tour guide the love lies in the death: when the female dies the men also die because they can’t live without her. That’s scientists’ romance I would say.

But there were other interesting things to see as well: Archie, the giant squid which is nearly nine metres long:

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Archie Part 1

 

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Archie Part 2

 

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Archie Part 3

 

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Archie Part 4

 

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Archie Part 5

 

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Archie Part 6

 

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Archie Part 7

 

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Archie Part 8

 

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Archie Part 9

 

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Archie Part 10

 

Or this cabinet full of Darwin’s collected species from the research tour on the HMS Beagle:

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Or this tiny fish which ancestors lived long before the dinosaurs.:

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I’d like to encourage you to do this tour on your own when you visit London. Probably you learn more of these stories since the staff is very comitted to this exhibition and its ‘inhabitans’. For example our tour guide who told us several times that a lot of (the dead) animals “live“ in big iron tanks with alcohol. That’s probably true love as well…

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