14 April 2009

You are 45 minutes from the dinosaurs.

The diplodocus in 1904

and in 2008, by Richard Carter
A wet Bank Holiday afternoon in London.

I didn't get where I am today without spending wet Bank Holiday afternoons in London at the Natural History Museum looking at the dinosaurs; so that's where we went.

It was rather more crowded than it was in 1904 - we queued for 10 minutes until we reached a sign. "You are 45 minutes from the dinosaurs", it said, so we went to the Darwin exhibition instead.

Darwin changed the world with an astonishing idea
which he hugged largely to himself for over 20 years until the same idea was had by Alfred Russel Wallace who wrote it all up in a neat essay and sent it to... Charles Darwin. Oops.

One idea, two authors. The reason we now remember name of Darwin is because Darwin was a partner at McKinseys the more senior and illustrious and able to speak with the right voice.

The reason Darwin had sat on his idea for so long seems to have been largely because he didn't want to upset his wife. The ironic thing is: he nearly didn't have a wife, for the most memorable item in the exhibition is his notes on the pros and cons of marriage and you can see for yourself it was close run thing.

Which point was it, do you suppose, decided him in the end?

In Victorian times most people refused to believe that a species could change, despite the clear evidence of their own eyes. Even now it can be hard to believe what's in plain sight: for instance if you look closely at the two pictures you'll notice that at some time in the last 100 years the diplodocus has stirred, stood up and lifted its tail...


Burgin Streetman said...

i myself am two days away from heading uptown to enjoy the american museum of natural history and stand in awe of the infinite spirals.

Botogol said...

you must be in New York. Sigh, lucky you.

M4GD said...

You hit a chord Mr. Botogol! I enjoyed reading Darwin’s notes. On marriage, someone once wrote it is an example of the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. Perhaps there is a grain of truth there but it is not all doom and gloom. For me, I think it’s a fine institution as long as it is working for both and both ARE working at it. If love, respect, and shared dreams are only carried by one, and/or along the way all was lost with no hope to be revived, the kindest thing one can do, for their soul and the other party, is to graciously move on! It’s best to be truthful and honest with one self. It’s healthier this way than conforming to the dogma of ‘till death do us part’ i.e. it is best to ‘reform not conform’ (Mark Twain ?)
I love Khalil Gibran’s view on marriage in the Prophet at:


As for Darwin and evolution, the old movie ‘Inherit the wind’ comes to mind. I love it!

This NYTimes article “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage” by Amy Sutherland is for Mrs. Botogol :-)


Re Sunk Boat: Many thanks for the posting. I agree with you. I actually deleted the film from my lovefilm list.

Scribbler: Enjoy the rest of your trip and keep the pics coming:-)

Botogol said...

md4g, thank you for that - I like that poem, which i havent come across before but - get this - I HAVE read the NYTimes article previously, and remembered it :-)

so, are *you* married, then?

M4GD said...

Taking confident close measured steps, she approached the bench and in a nice soft true voice she said: Your honor, given the public forum, May I ‘plead the fifth’? :-)

PS It’s ‘m4gd’ not ‘md4g’ :-)

The blogging philosoher said...

@ M4GD: Is it incriminating to admit to being single or to admit to being married, I wonder. Hmm...I guess you can't answer that ;-)

M4GD said...

@ The blogging philosopher: You got me good :-)