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If you've been dying to see the skeletons in Harvard's closet, the Museum of Comparitve Zoology has dragged out a few that are 30 feet long and a few hundred million years old and propped them up in a new exhibit dedicated to children and bone lovers everywhere.
For all those Nat Sci 10 fanatics who need to bone-up on antiquity, March is fossil month at the museum, and each week over 150 children tour the exhibit which is designed to introduce modern city dwellers to the wonders of fossildom.
The tour includes a step-by-step explanation of fossilization and erosion and the kids get to try their hand at casting fossils in plaster. The museum also set up a mock dig site, complete with geological tools and "junk fossils."
"The children come in here after seeing things like Fred Flintstone and they think that dinosaurs and men lived at the same time. We're trying to clear up these misconceptions," Lola Stillman, volunteer coordinator at the museum, said yesterday.
Stillman added that "the kids ask a lot questions like are they real?' They can't believe that they were all once in the ground."
After making plaster casts and puttering about the dig site, sightseers get a look at some of Harvard's more famous fossils including coelcanph, a "living fossil" (it survives today) and is a special attraction at the museum. Coelacanph is an example of a prehistoric fish which made the transition from water to air respiration. Harvard acquired its bones some 20 years ago.
Children's tours are held weekdays between ten a.m. and one p.m. and can be arranged by calling the museum. Weekend tours are reserved for the general public
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