Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bristol Museum

It would have been foolish of me to come study here without making a post on the Bristol Museum, considering it is next door to where most of my classes take place. It has a notable collection of Mesozoic marine reptiles. Here is a well-preserved specimen of Temnodontosaurus.

Excalibosaurus, an ichthyosaur with a very elongate rostrum.

A large specimen of Leptonectes.

An outdated presentation of plesiosaur biology.

There are also a few Mesozoic dinosaurs on display, including this Plateosaurus mounted in a rearing posture.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most highly-celebrated dinosaur here is the small sauropodomorph Thecodontosaurus, lauded due to it being a local and historically interesting fossil discovery. Here is a model of the beast by Bob Nicholls.

The reconstructed forelimbs of Thecodontosaurus.

A mostly complete specimen of Scelidosaurus.

A model of Scelidosaurus that has been quote-mined (see the words near its feet).

A more recently extinct dinosaur, an eastern moa.

I quite enjoy the taxidermy displays at this museum, as the specimens are mounted in evocatively lifelike poses. Here is an edible dormouse, as part of a gallery of British wildlife.

An impressively large monkfish, shown luring a small flatfish to its death.

They went to some lengths to get the correct eyes for these stuffed specimens, as is particularly noticeable with this great cormorant.

A hoopoe. I would love to add this species to my life list someday. Based on the blurb though, there's little chance of that happening here.

A diorama of nesting sand martins. (We Americans call them bank swallows.)

There are some more exotic species on display as well, such as this lesser Egyptian jerboa.

A long-tailed pangolin, one of the highly arboreal pangolin species.

I was excited to see this Potamogale, or giant otter shrew, a semi-aquatic tenrec.

An African brush-tailed porcupine.

An ivory-billed woodpecker, almost certainly extinct.

I wouldn't get my hopes up too much.

An eastern ground parrot.

A gray peacock pheasant. Galliforms are crazy.

Speaking of crazy extravagance, an entire display case of birds of paradise.

A regal-looking king vulture.

Tadpoles of the paradoxical frog, which become shorter as they age.

Various hummingbirds.

A resplendent quetzal, the most magnificent of trogons, and a plum-throated cotinga.

Some silky anteaters, the smallest and most adorable anteaters.

A thylacine!

A southern (or double-wattled) cassowary.

A platypus.

The skeleton of a potto, a strange nocturnal primate that uses the elongate neural spines on its neck as weapons.

A model of a dodo. (Not a taxidermied dodo; those, unfortunately, do not exist.)

A scaly-headed Archaeopteryx model. It... could be worse.

A cast of the London Archaeopteryx. I should visit the home institution of the original at some point.

Fragmentary Iguanodon (or more likely Mantellisaurus?) fossils.

Oh, it's that Oligokyphus model.

In addition to being a natural history museum, the Bristol Museum is also an art gallery. However, I will leave it up to the true art connoisseurs to tackle that side of things.


  1. "A hoopoe. I would love to add this species to my life list someday. Based on the blurb though, there's little chance of that happening here."
    I suppose I won Capture the Flag again; I saw one last year.

  2. The closest thing I could find of a dodo taxiderm is the only remains in a museum. Those would be down at the Oxford museum, seemingly mounted onto what is sometimes dubbed by locals "The Oxford Dodo".

    1. https://oumnh.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/oumnh/images/media/bees_closeup.png