Walk on the wild side of history

Left: Charles Darwin's On The Origin Of Species manuscript (1858-1859), with a finch, a mockingbird and a pigeon skeleton that he studied when formulating his theory. On display is a handwritten page from the book, one of the most influential writing
A key display is the sabre-toothed cat. Lion-size with terrifying teeth, Smilodon died out at the end of the last Ice Age and is one of the few sabre-toothed cats that would have encountered humans. PHOTO: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON
A not-to-be-missed display is that of the 487-million-year-old giant trilobites, flat sea creatures with a hard outer skeleton and a body segmented into three parts. Trilobites thrived in the shallow oceans in prehistoric times, but scientists think
One of the first three emperor penguin chicks studied, this chick was collected by Robert Falcon Scott’s party in 1902 on the Discovery expedition to Antarctica. The chick’s stage of development proved that emperor penguins lay their eggs during the dark and bitterly cold winter. On the ill-fated Terra Nova journey later, Scott had planned to collect penguin eggs for further investigation. PHOTO: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON
Right: The dodo is most well-known for being driven to extinction by the arrival of Dutch sailors in the isolated island of Mauritius. Some dodos fell prey to rats, cats, pigs and monkeys that the sailors brought with them, while other dodos lost the
Another highlight in the gallery is the “cursed” amethyst. Its owner, Edward Heron Allen, believed it was cursed and kept the stone locked inside a series of seven protective boxes. Allen donated the gem to the Natural History Museum with a letter warning that it was “trebly accursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonour of everyone who has ever owned it”.PHOTO: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON
Another highlight in the gallery is the "cursed" amethyst. Its owner, Edward Heron Allen, believed it was cursed and kept the stone locked inside a series of seven protective boxes. Allen donated the gem to the Natural History Museum with a letter wa
A not-to-be-missed display is that of the 487-million-year-old giant trilobites, flat sea creatures with a hard outer skeleton and a body segmented into three parts. Trilobites thrived in the shallow oceans in prehistoric times, but scientists think they may have suffocated during a mass mating event, which would give us a fascinating insight into how these trilobites behaved.PHOTO: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON
One of the first three emperor penguin chicks studied, this chick was collected by Robert Falcon Scott's party in 1902 on the Discovery expedition to Antarctica. The chick's stage of development proved that emperor penguins lay their eggs during the
Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species manuscript (1858-1859), with a finch, a mockingbird and a pigeon skeleton that he studied when formulating his theory. On display is a handwritten page from the book, one of the most influential writings in history. Darwin had it published only after refining his ideas over 20 years.PHOTO: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON
A key display is the sabre-toothed cat. Lion-size with terrifying teeth, Smilodon died out at the end of the last Ice Age and is one of the few sabre-toothed cats that would have encountered humans.
The dodo is most well-known for being driven to extinction by the arrival of Dutch sailors in the isolated island of Mauritius. Some dodos fell prey to rats, cats, pigs and monkeys that the sailors brought with them, while other dodos lost their habitat because of deforestation. The birds themselves may have gone hungry, as the invaders cleared forests that had been rich in fruits. Just 90 years later, the dodo was extinct. But despite its fame, no complete dodo skeleton exists. The model in the exhibition shows the dodo with a much thinner, more upright body shape than was initially thought, and is based on modern interpretations of the bird’s anatomy.PHOTO: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON

The ArtScience Museum will play host to over 200 artefacts from London's famed Natural History Museum from Nov 25 to April 29. Jose Hong looks at some.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2017, with the headline 'Walk on the wild side of history'. Print Edition | Subscribe