6.4.08

the canterbury museum (museum quest part 15) (christchurch part 2)

Location: Christchurch
Baskets Left: 3

okay so having killed last night watching a game of rug-bee time to get back to the task of getting rid of these ancient maori baskets (which just happen to contain all the mystic knowledge of the maori people!) for my boss ms. rhonwyn . i just hope that the maori god of darkness whirodoesn't manage to catch up with me again!

i my next appointed stop was the canterbury museum located just off christchurch's town square.

christchurch is a very flay city. it reminds me of red deer alberta and to be frank people of the web wide world i'm not a big fan of really flat places....


though town square christchurch was alright. it had some real nice buildings, and trams running all around it.

it also had some nice fountains i couldn't help but notice (i do LOVE a good fountain... with all that moving trickling water!). this was one of my favs. a wall of moving water. simple in concept, but sometimes it does the trick... like in this case.

the museum was located on the edge of the christchurch botanic garden. sadly due to my foolishness earlier i no longer had the leisure of wasting time to check out the sights. it would have been nice to compare this botanic garden to the one i live in back in dunedin.

far what i gathered here on the edge this one was a lot more flat, and as of such boring...

though it did have a way fancier fountain! i guess if you can't out do them in one way you find another. so i would say to those planning on hitting new zealand's botanic gardens dunedin's terrain is more exciting christchurch has better fountains...

the museum building itself was almost a dead ringer for one from the university of otago . which i have not had the best experience with to be fair.

still an assignment is an assignment, and given what i've seen of the stakes so far i'm not about to put off fulfilling it. that and i'd like to stay in ms. rhonwyn's good books.

the first thing this museum had was moas. their right in the front entrance. making it not too shabby an intro for someone into the prehistoric and extinct such as myself...

the moas were very nice specimens, and mounted very well in a great display. in fact i liked their display area better than the otago's. these ones had a better backdrop and lighting increasing your appreciation of both the completeness of the skeletons, and also making them just plain easier to see!

they also had some nice follow up displays highlighting the size difference in moas (you'll note the small Megalapteryx didinus beside the foot of the giant Dinornis robustus), and also a moa egg.

you than wander into the maori gallery which has a top notch collection of tools.

they also have a large number of carvings and artifacts from the south islands iwi or tribes.

they also have a sweet display of maori green stone tools and carvings. it's one of the best i've seen so far (as every museum has to have a display on these done here).

i'm really starting to like the little tiki carvings that were really common for the maori to make. wonder what their all about?

sadly no time to find out. i needed to cover as much ground in as little time as i could. the only way to stay not being hunted is to keep moving. so that's what i did.

next came the settlers display. i to say this beats both the otago museums section of the same nature, and the whole otago settlers museum (both are so boring i haven't bothered to waste time posting about them... to be fair though i'm not usually the most keen on human stuff).

this one though had cool glass tubes around the displays. the lighting and ambiance were top notch too. making for an all round interesting gallery...

they also had some cool chinese stuff in a chinatown display. i've always wanted to goto china or the land of dragons (dragons often being dinosaurs over there!).

next came a real surprise! i apparently stepped through a time portal right into 1890's christchurch!!!

okay, so it turns out it was a mock up of the old town... in my defence you'd have thought you'd walked into a time portal too considering how good the mock up town was!!!

throughout the town you could wander into the various buildings and check out cool displays and artifacts related to the building you entered.

my fav was the old version of the museum! it had animals put up in that classic, and kinda creepy, old skool european style.

speaking of critters up in museums next came the natural history hall. these guys weren't up in quite as old or creepy fashion...

they had a whole hall of birds. which makes sense as new zealand is the land of birds!

who knew there were so many types too?

there was a whole case full of DIFFERENT types of kiwi for crying out loud!!!

one of my favs was the roof full of different albatrosses. the biggest of which i'd already seen in real life on this trip!

finally i got to the big attraction for me. the geology hall. complete with giant globe greeting you at its entrance. i swear this is a motif of geology displays everywhere. even the vancouver eco centre had one (as did of course the tyrrell)!

the highlight of the rock only section of the displays was an ACTUAL meteorite!!! way too cool!

then we got to what i wanted to see. the fossil section...

including a very impressive wall of fossil crabs.

continuing with the underwater theme a really nice cast of xiphactinus (this one was from kansas somewhere). as much as i think these cretaceous fish are cool i wouldn't want to swim with one!


than there was my favourite display in the canterbury (at least as a straight up museum display... as you'll see soon).

a display of the south islands marine reptiles. i have a bit of a soft spot for marine reptiles. not only are they from the water which is way cool (i just wish we theropods had evolved more than basic swimming skills... probably marine reps fault we didn't come to think of it... anyways as i'm not a big on water critter if find the ones that are really interesting).

back at the royal tyrrell museum i used to hang out in the bearpaw sea exhibit with our marine reptiles a lot. it used to calm me down... though i guess i have to admit the idea of a living non fossil mosasaur scares me

the display was of a mosasaur skull and a elasmosaur torso.

a nice little statue showed the suspected interaction of these two animals in life. they weren't always doing this in life mind you... only when the mosasaur was hungry ;p

the elasmosaur on display was a Mauisaurus haasti named after the maori demi god accredited with raising the north island out of the ocean.

the impressive predator jaws belonged to Prognathodon waiparaensis a unique new zealand mosasaur. this one is among the most complete mosasaur skulls from new zealand. so it was cool to get to see them!

though it's a good thing their not on a living one!

than came part of the exhibit that made me nearly faint!...

DINOSAURS!?!?!?!?!

remember over a year ago when i was looking to move to place where there were no other dinosaurs... and i picked the south island because it meet those criteria... i guess i was wrong... well sort of.

immediately i caught onto the fact these weren't locals (kinda hard to be frankly as there are NO local south island dinos!). they were in fact from MY neck of the woods!

a triceratops found everywhere from the dakotas, to montana, saskatchewan, and of course alberta. with it an edmontosaur... how much more alberta do you get than the edmonton lizard? (granted its named after a rock formation named after the provinces capital city not after the actual city itself...)

i was both mystified and miffed by this unexpected, and frankly slightly horrifying discovery...

had i come to new zealand in vein? were other dinosaurs having the clever idea of avoiding the overcrowding and coming down here too? was new zealand about to be overrun with dinosaurs too?

eventually i calmed down. these were just fossil dinosaurs. not living ones like me. it's the living ones that have been causing me problems lately...

okay so technically their other dinosaurs, but their not like me. i'm still special in being the only LIVING dinosaur on the south island (other than when larry visited me). that and these guys are up here in christchurch, and not in dunedin. making me still the ONLY dinosaur in dunedin at least.

all this long hard thinking with my tiny brain must have burnt up a lot of energy. suddenly i was hungry as...

suddenly a definate up of these two ornithischians being here occurred to me!

oh man YUMMY! i haven't had a proper t-rex meal in over a year... i love hadrosaurs for lunch...

but if i love duckbill than i am head over heel for...

TRICERATOPS! (a historic fav of my people, and something even my dislike for most rexian conduct can not overcome...)

oh yeah, that hit the spot. i haven't had a good triceratops since i was in vancouver. come to think of it though i haven't had a fossilized one since BEFORE i was fired from the tyrrell (man that was a long time ago now!).
okay so the canterbury museum's food selection is second to none... at least for you theropods reading out there... my two favourite food types within cms of each other. it doesn't get much better than this!

of course as is the case in my life every up seems to be followed by a massive down...

just around the corner was another theropod. an allosaurus to be specific.

now we theropods don't get along at the best of times, but if there were a rivalry between us in the MODERN era it is between us t-rexs and allosaurs (the reason i say modern times we were seperated from each other in the mezesoic by about 110 million years!).


immediately i got a vibe of dislike from this skeleton...

you see fossilized dinosaurs (like my mom) may be able to communicate with us living dinosaurs (most humans don't seem to notice their communication efforts at all), but they are only shadows of their former selves. their more emotion than actual presence, and if they do manage to talk it's an echo of when they were alive...

my mom for example has only really said one thing to me ever... oh wait, sorry way off tangent...

this guy was giving off both the not liking other theropods on his turf and more to the point not liking a t-rex being that theropod.

you see throughout the 20th century tyrannosaurs and allosaurs were competing with each other to stay in the public's eye. as both the pinnacle predators of our time, and massive meat eaters compared to modern mammal predators (minus the whales mind you) it was easy to keep people interested in us. the problem was which was the more popular.

after all if you're number one dinosaurian predator than you get to make demands, and get back some control as an extinct critter in this world of humans. if you're stuck at number two well than your out of luck...

of course our battle for apex theropod kinda became null for poor allosaurus the instant it was pointed out that spinosaurus (the fish eater that it is) was bigger than t-rex. than followed up shortly by the discovery of massive south american allosaurian relative giganotosaurus (plus recently many of his other relatives in the carcharodontosaurid)... come to think of it i wonder if mike has found anything more out about the supposed "cold war" between the coelurosaurs and the carcharodontosaurids the modern incarnation of this popularity contest...

right sorry my peanut sized mind seems to have been a little scattered by this dinosaur encounter.

finally the allosaur's faint distant echoed voice could be heard. "enemy... leave!"

i wasn't in the mood to argue with a poor 155 million year dead guy in his place...

i left slightly depressed. the encounter reminded me of why i left drumheller over a year ago. more to the point i was bummed out by the sudden appearance of dinosaurs on the south island.

was it enough for me that i was the only dinosaur in dunedin... or did i need the whole giant island to myself?

adding to my sense of defeat was that as i started to leave the museum all 3 baskets were still in my pocket... i was going to have to move on in my museum quest, and i was still no closer to figuring out what made these kete o te wananga disappear.

to be continued...

3 comments:

The Ridger, FCD said...

Heart up, Traumador. You're better than a dead allosaur any day. Just keep yourself alive, guy!

As you might guess, I'm not a big fan of flat places, either (as you might guess from my name!).

The Flying Trilobite said...

The picture of you chomping the fossil is one of the best photos I've seen in a long time.

Pure, undiluted 'Rex Id, right there.

(Laughed my canucklehead off!)

The Ridger, FCD said...

I wanted to add, you have got some great museums down there, as well as a gorgeous country. (And I agree with the flying trilobite: that was a great picture!)