Beijing Natural History Museum

Beijing Natural History MuseumFounded in 1958, Beijing Natural History Museum is the largest in China. With an exhibition floor space of 3,600 square metres, the museum is located at Tianqiao, close to the Temple of Heaven.

The museum is divided into four exhibition halls: flora, fauna, ancient animals and mankind. There are about 10,000 fossils, specimens and models on display. With a large number of archaeological finds and materials concerning anthropology, paleoanthropology, and anatomy, the hall of mankind tells how human beings came into existence and gradually developed. Visitors see models of Yuanmou Man in Yunnan, Lantian Man in Shaanxi, Peking Man, Dingcun Man in Shanxi, Shandingdong Man in Beijing, Homo habilis in Africa, Java Man in Indonesia, Neanderthal Man in Germany, and Cro-Magnon Man in France. “Origin of Man” is currently on exhibition in the museum. Three hundred photos, 800 exhibits, paintings done by celebrated artists and precious specimens vividly illustrate the evolution of man and the complete process of human life, from embryo and birth to growth and death. Exhibits from foreign countries are also on display in the museum. They were sent by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the British Museum, the Muse National Histoire Naturelle in France, the Carolina Biological Supply Company in the US, and Beppu University in Japan.

In the hall of ancient animals most impressive is a complete dinosaur fossil, Hechuansaurus, the largest found so far in China. The giant creature, measuring 22 metres long and 3.5 metres high, is a herbivore. Another big dinosaur fossil (Yongchuansaurus, a carnivorous animal), 4 metres high and 9 metres long, lived between 60 mil-lion and 20,000 years ago. A fish fossil (Himalayasaurus), found in the Himalayas, proves that the mountains, including Qomolangma (Mount Everest), were once an expanse of sea. Footprints of dinosaurs have been studied by anthropologists all over the world. The footprints of different dinosaurs found in China are exhibited in the museum. They are important in studying the animal’s behavior as well as earth’s evolution.

Beijing Natural History Museum is open from 8:30 am to 4pm Tuesday through Sunday.

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