Birds, birds & more birds!

April 17, 2009 11:42 by Melinda Iser

Curator, Tracey-Ann Hooley and Exhibition Designer, Richard Glover create a showcase template, placing objects within helping with the process of designing showcase of Victorian birds for the upcoming Wild: amazing animals in a changing world exhibition.

Credit: Melinda Iser, Source: Museum Victoria

Birds selected for display.

Fairy Penguin, Eudyptula minor novaehollandiae / Plumed Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna eytoni / Shy Albatross, Diomedea cauta cauta / Eastern Yellow Robin, Eopsaltria australis

Source: Museum Victoria


Emu goes for a ride

April 3, 2009 07:43 by Melinda Iser

Credit: Melinda Iser, Source: Museum Victoria

Wild: amazing animals in a changing world

April 3, 2009 06:43 by Melinda Iser

Wild: amazing animals in a changing world opens September 2009.

Signage / Western Grey Kangaroo - Macropus fuliginosus / Gang-gang Cockatoo - Callocephalon fimbriatum



Credit: late Gary Lewis, Source: Museum Victoria

Visitors will be surrounded examples of mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world, including Australia .  They will be able to explore this wonderful diversity and discover which animals are thriving and which are merely surviving.

Victorian environments such as alps, grassland, wetlands will reveal what is changing and the connections between people and nature. Some aspects will be larger than life, others faster than life providing visitors with unique insights in each environment.

The exhibition explores why biodiversity is under threat and how we can create a more hopeful future.

Settling into my new spot

April 3, 2009 06:32 by Margie

Wow look at me I'm being installed into the new exhibition. My friend Dean has been working really hard to make me look good, you can see him on the ground sorting out my tail.

Credit: Melinda Iser; Source: Museum Victoria


Poo unveiled

March 5, 2009 06:49 by Kate Phillips

Curator Wayne Gerdtz with Jurassic poo. Image Benjamin Healley, Museum Victoria.

The lump looks small and unassuming. It has a rough texture and is surprisingly heavy for its size. This small pink and grey rock holds an intriguing secret. It is a 150 million year old sauropod dinosaur poo – fossilised and preserved as a record of life in a very different time.

Imagine standing in a lush Jurassic forest in what is present day Utah, USA.
The ground vibrates with thundering footfalls. It is a 25 tonne sauropod coming to feed. Its giant neck and small head reach into the dense vegetation to tear off some leaves. The mouthful of leaves travels down its long neck to its roomy stomach. Fermentation chambers filled with bacteria in its guts help break down the plant fibres and extract the nutrients. A soft lump of poo falls onto a bit of swampy ground, where it is preserved and fossilised – turned into stone. It is buried and remains hidden for 150 million years until someone digs it up. We acquire it for the museum.
Fossilised poo – or ‘coprolites’ – were unveiled at Melbourne Museum today in preparation for installation in the Dinosaur Walk, opening on April 3 at Melbourne Museum. A coprolite will be on open display in the new exhibition, enabling visitors to touch it for themselves.

How do we know it is dinosaur poo? It comes from a rock layer known as the Morrison formation, which is the right age and contains many fossils of Late Jurassic dinosaurs. It is the ‘right’ size and shape. It is similar to other lumps which have been analysed and have been found to have plant remains in them. The process involves looking at thin sections of the rock under a microscope, where traces of plants can be seen. We cannot be 100% sure our lump is fossilised dinosaur poo, but the evidence suggests it is highly likely.

Is it rare? Fossils of dinosaur bones are quite rare, but fossils of soft parts like skin, muscle or traces like poo are even rarer. The conditions to preserve a soft lump are unusual, so coprolites are rare.


Installing a Quetzalcoatlus

March 2, 2009 08:22 by Melinda Iser

Rencently we installed a Quetzalcoatlus at Melbourne Museum for the upcoming Dinosaur Walk exhibition. It ‘s a huge pterosaur with a wingspan of up to 15 metres - the largest flying creature of all time and existed the very end of the Cretaceous period. Being such a large animal it was suprisingly light and probably weighed no more than 100 kilograms.

Pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, but they lived alongside them during the Mesozoic era.

Credit: Rodney Start, Source: Melbourne Museum

Standing on two legs!

March 2, 2009 08:07 by Margie


I'm currently getting a new 'look', all my bones have been individually cleaned and freshed up to make me look good for the new exhibition. I'll be standing on my hind legs like the picture below.

I've also added a picture of ramp (second image) that is being built, I'm going to be exhibited down the end near Diprotodon, he's the fellow you can see right at the end of the ramp.

Not long now only one month to go before I'm back on show and you can come and visit me again.

Artist: Kym Haines, Source: Museum Victoria / Credit: Kate Phillips, Source: Museum Victoria

Some shallow thoughts on deep time

January 9, 2009 09:58 by Wayne Gerdtz

Above: Trilobites, fossil ferns and Diprotodon - all a bit older than me.  (Source: Museum Victoria)

Time is an odd sort of thing – I’m always losing it, but you can never get it back. For example, one year ago, my son wasn’t even born. Ten years ago, I was still at University. A thousand years ago, Vikings were doing their thing in Europe . A million years ago, ancestral humans hadn’t even formed recognisable civilisations. But 600 million years? It almost goes without saying, but that’s a very long time ago. As you can probably guess, quite a bit has changed on our planet in that time.

One of the challenges we’re facing with our new exhibitions in the Science and Life Gallery redevelopment is to make this sort of timescale comprehensible – the amount of time is so big that it is hard to wrap your head around. The first of the four exhibitions to open will be Dinosaur Walk, displaying dinosaur skeletons and others, aims to summarise the last 253 million years of land vertebrate evolution, starting just before the age of the dinosaurs, passing through the Mesozoic where dinosaurs, flying and marine reptiles ruled their domains, through to their extinction and the eventual rise (and demise) of the megafauna.

So how do you fit something as mind-bogglingly vast as hundreds of millions of years into an exhibition space less than 50 metres long at Melbourne Museum ? The answers to that are, with careful selection of display objects, some very clever (and patient) exhibition designers and an equally talented exhibition team!

And consider this - if you think that 253 million years sounds like a long time, the exhibition opening 12 months after Dinosaur Walk will go back in time more than twice as far, right back to the emergence of complex life on earth, around 600 million years ago. That exhibition will also include the stories of life underwater as well as on land, and the geological processes that have shaped the very land and seas themselves. So, soon you will be able to stroll through 600 million years of life and landscapes and 253 million years of skeletons before you have a mid-morning coffee at the Melbourne Museum Cafeteria.

I think I’ll go and have one myself right now….

Margie’s on the move!

December 17, 2008 09:39 by Margie
Credit: Rodney Start, Source: Museum Victoria


My time had arrived to start the process of getting ready for my new look in the Dinosaur Walk exhibition, I had ALL these men fussing over me (which was just fabulous) making sure I was taken apart in the correct way. I’ve got a video of the whole thing, take a look.

Graphics installed

December 17, 2008 09:16 by Melinda Iser

Museum staff installs temporary signage advertising the upcoming Dinosaur Walk exhibition

Credit: Melinda Iser, Source: Museum Victoria