The exhibition occupies two neighbouring rooms. In one visitors are welcomed by a toothy T-rex, in the other a floating hippo. The beautiful tables were designed by head designer Lars Holm with input from architect and user coordinator Christian Ebbesen, to fit in with the expression of the old cabinets in the adjacent halls. Lars also designed the rig, which is sort of an exploded view of the table grid.

Notice the light from the window hitting the left wall. More in this later...

This room is about the mechanisms of natural selection. Organisms running for their dinner or for their life in this case. Stories in the tables were enhanced by larger objects in the ceiling. The exhibition is full of striking juxtapositions like this one.

Objects not connected to the rig are suspended in lifting chains and freight strapping. Evolution is an ongoing process, as is this exhibition.

A note on the lighting. This is before we were finished, but it illustrates the idea of a single point source of light above each table. This was the spark of life, the first replicator, from which life was able to explode through natural selection. Light designer Martin Holmberg went the extra mile on this one and sourced some perfect old halogen lights which we built special housings for. All objects in the rig are lit only by this one light, throwing dramatic shadows onto the walls. Monty Python Fans will recognize the viscious Chicken of Bristol here, in fact the shadow of a battling capercaillie.

"Then we are agreed ladies and gentlemen, we are all one species, and our differences superficial." "Aoooo!" - Dog gene conference for peace 2019. Notice the reflection of Darwin, doing a headstand.

Above the dog gene conference is a proud male wolf. Counterpointing his raw magnificience under the table is this soft toy sheep dog, complete with a string of sausages. Dogs steal sausages, regardless of how well trained they are. They just can't help it, I propose it is the wolf in them.

A fun story here. Nature, at the organism level is, by and large, red in tooth and claw. But we were keen to illustrate the many undoubted cooperations and interdependencies seen in nature. We happened to have an Egyptian plover in the collection and bought a Nile Crocodile skull replica to show the tooth cleaning behaviour of these birds. However, our biologists discovered in the nick of time that the story is apochryphal, these birds do no such thing at all. It is in fact an ancient myth perpetuated by photoshopped images! (Google it, it's hilarious) Any actual footage of these species together shows the crocodiles doing all they can to eat the birds. Ari hastily repostioned the bird with a lolling head, and the jaws were brought together into an eating position.

I had so much fun composing this. More than 30 species of Lichen, cooperation's success story, true symbiosis between very different organisms, and these things are everywhere.

Sexual dimorphism. I love this display. Girl and boy butterflies reflecting each other with the symbols for male and female clarifying that the girls are on top.

I love this one too. The male onlooking stag beetles are arranged by the largness of their horns, along the elispe which exactly describes the battle arena of The Colloseum in Rome. Our gladiating males are watched by the unassuming female. I should mention that all these displays were put together by the careful and diligent hands of our enternally patient conservators, Ruth Murgatroyd and Signe Nybro Bonnichsen with assistence from Astrid Wilfriede Pilz.

Above the battling stag beetles, battling stags. Which, I should point out, are reflected through the glass when you stand looking at the beetles. A very pleasing effect that repeats itself around the tables. Hard to take a good picture of though.

Evolution while you wait. This now famous and alarming film (by Michael Baym, the Kishony Laboratory at Harvard Medical School and Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology), shows bacteria evolving resistence to increasingly powerful antibiotics. Your mouth goes dry as you watch. Notice the colourful branching evolution diagram. I thought it would be nice to indicate just how extraordinary Darwin's mind was, by placing his also famous 'i think...' diagram next to it. This, the first phylogenetic tree, is basically the same as the simplified one descring all domains of life on earth today.

I should admit that this is a replica that I made. Though I'm happy to report people think it's the real thing, perhaps because I took the trouble to make the backs of pages too. While leafing through the digitzed notebook, I discovered that ten pages earlier, Darwin had had a crack at the tree idea already. Two sketches, one has multiple starting points (unlike the later one he went for which has a single origin for all life on earth) and one is more of a 'shrub of life'. Darwin was human after all! Mind you, ten pages is all it took from rough idea to solving how all life on earth in its variety came to be.

The Hippo room looks at the modern and future repurcussions of evolution. This lovely DNA model was made specially by Miramodus in the UK. Check out the great shadow on the wall. Actually on purpose!

An age old display given new life. We grouped these forearms (homologous limbs) according to land sea and air lifestyles. Then, we put coloured dots onto the bones which are relative to each other.

The basic topology of our bones is shared with everything that shares ancestry with the first amphibians that dragged themselves out onto the land (mammals, birds, reptiles, dinosaurs). We have a funny copy of one in an activity box. Lifestyle-shifts distorted the bones' shapes and orientation over time, but the topolopgy by and large remains. Up in the rig, a t-rex arm and a huge elephant foreleg hammer the point home.

So, about that light from the window. It was in fact projected. We made a film that copies how sunlight comes through the wobbly old glass windows. Then, occasionally, the life size shadows of animals walk or swim past, giving the unnerving impression that they are in the room with you. I never get tired of watching people look around them when the shadows go past. Some are extinct animals like the huge T-rex who silently stomps by.

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