East London has been a place I wanted to visit for a while due the history behind the discovery of the coelacanth, a fish thought to be extinct for over 70 million years. Imagine the surprise when one was caught off East London in December of 1938. It is like finding dinosaurs are not extinct. The fish was put on display and on the first day of showing over 1000 visitors saw the exhibit. I went to see the fish and also the worlds only dodo egg.
Original sketches from the discovery.
I was taken behind the locked doors and told to wait while the egg was fetched from a locked room. Then all security measures where forgotten and I was able to see the egg for as long as I wanted and snap some photos. I was told the history of the item too.
|Coelacanth (head cut away to see skull)|
Incidentally Lee Durrell, Gerald Durrell’s widow, saw the egg and told the staff that while in Russia they had heard about two dodo eggs which where in existence. Ones whereabouts was unknown probably in a private collection in Russia. The other however was traded as payment for a ferry ticket the owner couldn't afford, in Mauritius. This ties in nicely supporting the story of how the museum got the egg.
|The dodo egg|
Lastly I was shown footprints made by early homo sapiens which are the oldest in the world out dating Eve from Langebaan by 7,000 years! These new prints are believed, from tests, to be 124,000 years old. They where found in the dunes 5km from East London and the originals are on display in the museum, not casts. The staff where very nice and I would like to thank them for allowing me this rare glimpse.
This is a long post as I was impressed and wanted to get that across and give some information I gathered to you. No idea as yet what the next post will be on but keep an eye on here as I am heading North now towards Durban and new territory for me so plenty of exploring.