natural history museum

A reminder that Thranduil’s mount used to actually exist.

Irish Elk

“The Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus)[1][2] is an extinct species of deer in the genus Megaloceros and is one of the largest deer that ever lived. Its range extended across Eurasia, from Ireland to northern Asia and Africa. A related form is recorded from China during the Late Pleistocene.[3] The most recent remains of the species have been carbon dated to about 7,700 years ago in Siberia.[4] […] The Irish Elk stood about 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) tall at the shoulders carrying the largest antlers of any known cervid (a maximum of 3.65 m (12.0 ft) from tip to tip and weighing up to 40 kg (88 lb)). In body size, the Irish Elk matched the extant moose subspecies of Alaska (Alces alces gigas) as the largest known deer. The Irish Elk is estimated to have attained a total mass of 540–600 kg (1,190–1,320 lb), with large specimens having weighed 700 kg (1,500 lb) or more, roughly similar to the Alaskan Moose.[16][17][18] A significant collection of M. giganteus skeletons can be found at the Natural History Museum in Dublin.”

Photo taken by me, in the Natural History Museum of Dublin, summer of 2013.


Natural history museums are truly awesome and astonishing places, but did you know that they’re home to even more specimens than what they have out on display? The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C. maintains a vast collection of specimens that’s over 90% larger than what’s on public display.

“These collections serve as primary reference materials for exploring and understanding the solid Earth and planet, biological and cultural diversity, evolutionary relationships, biological conservation, and global change. They help us to interpret our biological origins, our cultural heritage, and what the future may hold.”

Messy Nessy recently shared a fascinating series of photos of some of the Smithsonian NMNH’s backstage collections, enormous rooms full of seemingly endless drawers, shelves, racks, and cabinets all full of carefully cataloged and organized specimens from many different branches of natural history. The photos were all taken by the late Chip Clark, photographer for the Smithsonian Institution.

Head over to Messy Nessy to view more.

[via Messy Nessy Chic]


Went out recently with a friend to the Natural History Museum, a place I find myself visiting a few times every year. The architecture of this place blows my mind everytime and the fact that it makes me feel like I’m in Hogwarts is always a bonus. We spent the next 3 hours in hyde park on the Boris Bikes - I had no idea they were that cheap (£2 for 24 hours).

This is a picture I took with my phone at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands. It is a scale showing how 1L (liter) of granite is lighter than 1L of basalt. This helps us visualize why plate tectonics never results in continents sinking underneath the ocean. Because continental crust is made of granite and oceanic crust is made of basalt, continents will never sink under the ocean because continents are always lighter than the ocean floor.

The pen is there for scale.


The public only gets to see a carefully curated version of the collections at natural history museums.

Hidden from view, there’s a second museum, sprawling in scope, full of character and occasionally gross.

No place is more hidden than the Whale Warehouse. Go inside in the first installment of AudioVision.