Arthropods: Rulers of The World!

Posted on May 4th, 2011

Arthropods: Rulers of the World!
by Eric Walton

On a recent week-end in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History, which is, unsurprisingly, magnificent. The delights began even before I entered the first gallery: I was informed when purchasing my ticket that the price of admission, a paltry nine USD, included entry into the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. But the real joy was discovering that the HMNH is a veritable treasure trove of insects, spiders and crustaceans beautifully preserved in glass jars!

From a distance, the three modest cabinets that house these marvelous specimens are not as impressive as, say, the forty-two foot long Kronosaurus skeleton in the Zoological Gallery, or even the sixteen-hundred pound amethyst geode in the The Mineralogical and Geological Gallery, but to approach the cabinets and glance at the dozens of glass jars containing hundreds of motionless creatures suspended in a kind of biological purgatory, their inevitable decay and decompostion arrested for a brief moment in geological time through the glory of science, is to be drawn into a miniature palace of wonders, a tiny theater of strange and exotic life-forms that seem as alien, as beautiful and as rebarbative, as anything depicted in a science fiction movie.

I offer a few photographic samples for your delight and delectation. I took these over the course of about half an hour and the kind folks at the HMNH were gracious enough not only to tolerate my bothersome photo-taking, but also to grant me permission to publish the images here:
Text and images © Eric Walton 2011
© President & Fellows of Harvard College

Posted in Eric Walton, Harvard Museum of Natural History, HMNH    Tagged with Harvard Museum of Natural History, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, arthropods, entymology, marine biology, HMNH, Eric Walon


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