Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jersey Boy Visits England

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting London, England, for a second time.  Did you know that England is where the very first dinosaur to be recognized by science was discovered?  Of course you did!  You also probably know which one it was too... Megalosaurus.  Anyway, I got to visit a lot of nice places, including some great natural history museums as well as meet up with some of my friends whom you may recognize if you visit this site often.  I also am a big fan of fish and chips.  I'm an even bigger fan of eating them.

Pretty much my attitude every time I got hungry over there.  Baryonyx (a fish eater) and Hypsilophodon (a plant eater, maybe a digger of roots) were both discovered in what is now England.

and I did.

The first place I made a point to visit was the London Museum of Natural History, home to the first Diplodocus skeletal mount right in the middle of the entrance hall.  I met my friends, Marc Vincent, who writes for Love in the Time of Chasmosaurus, Niroot Puttapipat, one of the most talented and skilled illustrators of our time (I know when he reads this he is going to be all modest and probably tell me to take it off but I really do mean it.  If you haven't checked out his work yet you should do it...right now.  Also get ready to have your jaw hit the floor because that's totally gonna happen when you see his art for the first time.), and Dr. Adam Smith, a paleontologist who specializes in plesiosaurs. Fun trivia fact: I actually met all these guys about six years ago on Adam's site that reviews dinosaur toys, called The Dinosaur Toy Blog.

From left to right: Niroot, Marc, Adam, and I at the London Museum of Natural History last month.

Sharing a laugh with Charles Darwin in the main hall.
Dr. Smith reflects with one of his subjects.

This past time that we visited there was a seasonal exhibit about mammoths and other ice age megafauna.  there were a number of interesting fossil specimens and artifacts but almost just as interesting was the artwork in the form of life reconstructions of these animals.

Life-size model of a Colombian Mammoth.
There were some pretty cool interactive exhibits too.

There are a lot of other awesome natural history museums I got to see too though.  Most notably was the seemingly small, but surprisingly extensive, Booth Museum of Natural History in the town of Brighton.  This place was literally wall to wall with taxidermy bird specimens.  It was really very impressive.
I swear it was like the TARDIS.  Bigger on the inside.

They also had some nice Iguanodon and Mantellisaurus fossils!

On my last day there I had the privilege of visiting the Grant Museum of Zoology in London.  This is a small place, the building sort of reminds me of the New Brunswick Geology Museum back home, but it is wall to wall, jam packed with all kinds of animal specimens, including taxidermy, specimens in formaldehyde, and especially skeletons.  Lots and lots and lots of bones all over this place.  If you are ever in London and were wondering what the skeleton of...anything off the top of your head looks like, give this place a visit.

Hello, family!

Below is a photo of Marc, Niroot, and myself in our matching dinosaur family crest shirts (if by nerdy you mean totally cool then yes, you would be correct.) illustrated by David Orr.  Wait, who is that on the right there?  It's Katrina Van Grouw!  If you don't know, she wrote and illustrated The Unfeathered Bird, one of the best zoological books (if not the best) of 2013. (If you like birds or are interested in learning more about them definitely pick up a copy.  The book is a must-have for professionals and hobbyists alike.)  Katrina also used to be the curator or ornithology at the London Museum of Natural History.  I was thrilled that she took the time out of her schedule to come out to see us and of course to have her sign my copy of her book. 

That is all for today.  I got to visit a few other REALLY special dinosaur-related places while I was there but I decided to give those their own posts in the future.  One place was very OLD and one place was very NEW.  Farewell until next time! 


  1. Thank you so much for your very kind words, Chris. It was really great to see you again with the others. I'm quite fond of that picture with Darwin myself. :D

    And in case your readers may be interested, here is my short, indulgent post of our meeting at the Grant on LITC.

    1. Next time you guys should come visit NJ and NY!