Sunday, October 24, 2010

Goseong Dinosaur Museum

After seeing the dinosaur museum at Uhangri in Jeollanam-do (Goseong is the next province over, Gyeongsangnam-do), I was not so interested in this museum. This is an impressive museum but since this is the forerunner of dinosaur museums in Korea, it lacks the volume, layout, visual creativity and interactiveness that Uhangri has. That said, it does have some interesting artifacts. Included among these are 7 real dinosaur fossils, 37 dinosaur fossil reproductions, 108 fossils of other species ("other species" was never clarified to me), and 17 very impressive model dinosaurs. The museum was opened in 2004, held its first dinosaur festival in 2006 and its second in 2009, and now is drawing a lot of national and international attention. Rather impressive numbers, 1.7 million tourists, visited the museum during the 2009 festival months! The day when I visited was delightfully peaceful. On a weekday at 10am the opening hour, I probably shared the museum with one other person.

Built in Sangjogam County Park on the abrupt mountainside over-looking the former paleolake where dinos once trod, it has front road access and access from the back gate, below which one of the world's most impressive concentrated collections of dinosaur tracks are located. (Ironically, the dinosaur tracks are free 24/7 for the viewing but the museum has a charge - the natural vs. the manmade, and the natural is so much more impressive ... so go figure! However, the view from the low mountain top within the museum gates and the dino play area for kids should be appreciated by all as it is very cute and well-planned.

In the museum, I found the model dinosaurs particularly fascinating as I was interested to see how the leg bones were put together at the joints and curious to see if "caps" were reproduced on the bones. "Caps" are supposed to be bones that fuse to the ends of human and other mammal bones and once fused further growth of that mammal is impossible. Dinosaurs, classified as reptiles and not as mammals, are not to have caps ... but I was just poking my nose in everything because learning is free and for the alert. I didn't see any caps but rather doubt I would be able to recognize them anyway, but have to say, because I was looking for something specific, I was more aware of the detail put into the modelling of the bones, and so now I'm curious about WHY some dinosaurs are modelled with darker materials and others with lighter - there must be a prescribed system to it. Am puzzling on that right now ... must take a class in "bone reconstruction" to get some solid answers.

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