A gallery of ancient life - Dinosaurium, Sweden

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© Paleontological Museum, Moscow

Scutosaur - Severo-Dvinskaya gallery in New Paleontological Museum.

The Paleontological Institute is a continuation of the story of the Kunstkamera of Peter the Great which was open in Saint-Petersburg in 1714. At that time, it was just some ancient peculiarities which were collected by the Decree of Tsar. The first real exposition(as a gallery of ancient life) had been developed after famous excavations of Professor V.P.Amalitsky in Northern Russia. Dozens of vertebrate skeletons from the Permian period (end of Paleozoic) were found in the banks of the Malaya Severnaya Dvina River(in the Arkhangelsk area). The basic part of the exposition display included the skeletons of herbivorous Skutosaurus skeletons and predatory Inostrancevia skeletons. These excavations were the first evidence of the richness of ancient vertebrate fauna in Eastern Europe and marked the beginning of systematic investigations into the fauna of Permian-Triassic continental deposits of Russia(fauna of the ancient amphibians, Parareptilia and teromorph reptiles, which are the ancestors of mammals). These works are still going on, and these exhibits constitute the basis of a particular hall of the Late Paleozoic - Early Mesozoic Life(the oldest vertebrate animals) in the Paleontological Museum(Moscow).

© Paleontological Museum, Moscow

In the beginning of XX century, the Severo-Dvinskaya gallery (named after prof. Amalitsky) became the gold basis of the exhibition hall of ancient life in the Geological Museum of St-Petersburg. The museum hall was completed with a cast of the Diplodicus carnegii skeleton presented by E.Carnegy fund in 1913, at the 300-th anniversary of the Romanovs dynasty.

Later the exhibition grew witha skeleton of giant rhinoceros Indricotherium from Neogene of Kazakhstan being added. Indricotherium went on to become a symbol of the Paleontological Museum. With time, the Paleontological Museum grew up into the Paleontological Institute. Its first Director, academician A.A.Borisyak, played a huge role in this growth. After his death in 1944, the Institute and Museum were headed by Yu.A.Orlov, who continued the excavations and collecting of ancient mammals in Siberia and Kazakhstan. Numerous mammal skeletons  from the Neogene of Eurasia(rhinos, horses, bears and deers) became the main part of the display in the Museum hall devoted to the Cenozoic life(the evolutionary history of mammals). The largest hall of the Museum is devoted to Mesozoic life(Dinosaurs and their contemporaries). The main core of this hall are huge skeletons of dinosaurs(Tarbosaurus, Saurolophus and others) collected in the Gobi desert of Mongolia in 1946-1949, by an expedition under the leadership of I.A.Efremov. The Soviet-Mongolian(and later Russian-Mongolian) Paleontological expeditions resumed digging in the Gobi desert in 1969 and continue to the present day. The showcases with ancient crocodiles, pterosaurs, marine monsters and ancient birds complete the exposition. A special showcase is also devoted to dinosaur eggs and the breeding of dinosaurs.

The Paleontological Museum was always a scientific Museum, part of the Paleontological Institute and the Academy of Sciences. In 1934, for seven years before the Second World War, it moved to Moscow together with the entire Soviet Academy of Sciences where it occupied one of the old buildings on the banks of Moscow-river in the central part of the capital. A special story is the long struggle of its director, Yury Orlov, and all the leading scientists of the institute, for a new building for the exposition. This building was started in an incredible way and completed by 1980-1981. In 1981-1985 the Museum moved to this new enormous building in Teplyi Stan place in south Moscow. Now the Paleontological Institute bears the name of academician Aleksey Borisyak, and the Paleontological Museum the name of academician Yury Orlov. The Institute worked as the pleiad of the outstanding scientists-paleontologists Russia. The 1930 to1980s were a time of «Great Enthusiasm», «Big things» and the «Big Expeditions». The development of the paleo exposition was a life-long project for several generations of Russian paleontologists, - not for a fun alone, but for the light of Knowledge and Education of the people. The majority of exhibits in the halls of the Museum were collected during heavy expeditions in remote areas of the former USSR and Mongolia.

© Paleontological Museum, Moscow


One of the big  personalities in the history of the Paleontological Institute is a professor I.A.Efremov, who was a geologist, paleontologist and organizer of many difficult expeditions; whilst at the same time being a popular science fiction writer. As a young man, in the period after the Civil war, Ivan Efremov dreamed to become a paleontologist and began work in a Paleontologic Institute in St. Petersburg, as a preparator, in 1925. Later, he became a specialist on fossil reptiles, beginning with theromorph reptiles. After his expeditions to Siberia, Central Asia and Mongolia, the Paleontological Museum was added to with many new enigmatic skeletons, including the huge skeletons of a Tarbosaurus and Saurolophus. The Mongolian expedition of the Academy of Sciences(1946-1949) is a special page in life of Ivan Efremov and the Institute. He was the organizer and the field leader of these expeditions. Most of the large skeletons in the exposition in the Mesozoic Hall were collected by teams in the Mongolian expedition. I.A.Efremov’s book, «the Road of the winds»(about the expeditions to the Gobi Desert), inspired  many boys and girls to aspire to become paleontologists.

© Paleontological Museum, Moscow

Dino exhibition, from the Paleontological Museum, a part of the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, has visit Sweden before. It came to Norrkoping in 2012 and Gothenburg 2005 and has also travelled to Australia, Germany, USA, Canada, Korea, France, Italy, Finland, Japan, Taiwan and Cyprus.

Dinosaurium 15.05 -18.08.2013
More information, Halmstad Tourist Office, phone +46(0)35-12 02 00, www.halmstadarena.se

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