Recap: Museum of Natural History Tour

Posted by Greg Hauser | February 01, 2012

Spartan Tour of the American Museum of Natural History 

The Natural History Museum predator-prey tour began inside the Central Park West entrance, underneath the towering Barosaurus skeleton from 140 million years ago, the tallest free standing dinosaur mount in the world, as she rears up to defend her young from the attacking Allosaurus, a T. rex predecessor from the Jurassic, and ended about four hours later in the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, contemplating a giant hyena from about a half million years ago stalking Homo erectus as he stops to drink from a stream.

Along the way, a dozen Spartans wended their way through the exhibit halls of the largest museum in the world, examining the evolution of predation, from the ancient seas and the first fishes with jaws, to the extinct sharks big enough to hunt today’s whales, to the predator fishes in the shallows that evolved into the first tetrapods and brought vertebrate life onto the land, to the dinosaurs, including Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus, to the snakes that chased our ancestors, the first primates, through the trees, to the ancestors of today’s carnivores.

We met the apex predators of today’s oceans and of Africa, Asia and North America, and discussed how their prey cope with the threat of teeth and claws, and finally learned how it is that human evolution turned the hunted into hunters as well, which ultimately led us to a post-tour repast at Shake Shack!