A visit to Beijing’s Natural History Museum! If you’re hoping to find out information about extinct species in China like the baiji (Yangtze river dolphin), this might not be the place. In several floors of classic once-stately but now somewhat shabby museum style, there is just one stuffed finless porpoise (not Lipotes vexillifer at all), mysteriously labelled ‘river dolphin’. A little sad, to say the least!
There is however an unarguably remarkable Jurassic Park-style robotic dinosaur display, complete with quick glassy eyes and roaring sound effects. And many, many marauding children, whose parents try desperately to photograph them in front of dusty dioramas of poised tigers and silent forest monkeys. Wild in unexpected ways.
Chinese alligator, extremely rare nowadays.
The only dolphins in sight – happy (sea) dolphins decorating the back wall of a dimly-lit basement aquarium, home to slowly moping sturgeon, swordfish and swirls of brightly coloured smaller fish.
A taste of things to come… de-extinction, anyone?
[all photos taken by the author]