History repeats itself at the Nehru Science Centre
A giant Brachiosaurus plant-eating dinosaur cranes its neck and nods benignly at visitors. In another corner, a Baluchitherium, a hornless rhinoceros, munches leaves from a tree. A Pterosaur, a giant flying reptile, is suspended mid-flight. There’s rarely a dull moment at the Prehistoric Life Gallery at the Nehru Science Centre in Worli. This recently renovated gallery has 35 prehistoric animals that will grab the attention of students as well as dinosaur devotees.
The exhibition models may not be as well-crafted as the ones in international museums, but there are plenty of things for children to discover. The displays focus on the evolution of early life forms – one-celled organisms in the sea, invertebrates and vertebrates. Apart from dinosaurs, there are models of the Neanderthal man, land scorpion, lemur, woolly mammoth and sabre-tooth tiger. Children will love the animatronic dinosaurs that dip their heads to lap water from an artificial pool while swishing their tails, a musk ox that shakes its mammoth head and a giant squid that’s constantly rolling its huge round eyes. All this is set to the background score of growls and screeches – sounds that the creatures are believed to have emitted.
Each diorama is equipped with a well-lit information display in both English and Hindi that flashes information about the prehistoric animal’s height, weight, food habits and habitat. There is also useful trivia, such as the fact that the dragon fly lived three crore years ago, and the Dimetrodon , a predator that lived during the Permian period, weighed 250 kilos.
By Bijal Vachharajani on June 09 2011 6.30pm
Photos by Amit Chakravarty