4 years ago I attended a talk by Prof Peter Ng on the possibility of bringing the dinosaur bones to Singapore. Bones from a family of 3 dinosaur diplodocid sauropod had been discovered. Was it possible to bring the bones to Singapore? We needed to raise $12 million. It looked mission impossible. Prof Leo Tan had a lot of support from the common folks, but the money from fundraising only added to $3 million when the deadline to buy the bones came and past. The palaeontologists that discovered the bones had a few other good offers.
Afterall, Apollonia, possibly a female, had a perfectly preserved skull and a near complete skeleton. the degree of preservation was rare. Then there was Prince, at 27m, possibly a male, was one of the most complete sauropod skeletons found with its skull intact.
And so, its finally happened. End of April 2015, we finally have our own Natural History Museum. Even the ones in the London Museum are not real dinosaur bones, I was told.
Responsible visitors is what we are looking for. The exhibits are as close as you can get.
Designing the interior displays is another first of collaboration between scientists and artists.
The #1 question from our group seems to be, can this be eaten?
This is a teaching museum, and curators are also heads of departments in the university.
I’m certainly coming back again with my 10 yr old nephew who was very excited about the dinosaur bones. There’s just so much my brain can absorb, which was a pity, as I was in the presence of 3 master story-tellers.
But the main takeaway, was seeing the vision of Prof Leo Tan and Prof Peter Ng become reality. I wonder whether at what point, did they consider that there was a possibility of the dinosaur bones slipping away. Prof Tan was enthusiastic all the way.
That’s how great men become great.