We took extensive notes when we visited the Ulster Museum "Nature Zone". Here they are....
Triceratops -65 million years
Nickel iron – a fragment of the core of the planet – 1 billion years
Collision with another planet.
“Every living thing on earth owes its existence to the elements and compounds found in the original mixture of dust and ice from which the Solar System was formed”.
Allende meteorite – 4,560 million years ago – very beginning of the Solar System
ORIGIN OF LIFE
Four billion years ago earth was very different from today.
“Two billion years ago the only life on earth was microscopic bacteria and blue-green algae”.
Moluscs have changed little in 400 million years.
In a display cabinet of 40 exhibits, 17 are allocated dates of 15 -480 million years old.
In a display cabinet of 44 exhibits, 27 are allocated dates 1 450 million years old.
It’s claimed that fossil rocks are 300 -800 million years old. Yet a modern coelacanth is displayed and we are told they are still found.
Cast of skeleton dated as 200 million years old.
Half a billion years – the most successful and diverse multi-cellular animal on earth. There are 8 exhibits all dated 200-510 million years.
“Most plants and animal species that have ever lived on earth are extinct, thanks to evolution”.
There is a major section called MODIFICATION BY DESCENT
“Evolution is the natural process that makes sense of living things around us and, indeed, of ourselves”.
“Evolution is a fact, based on changes seen in fossils and in living things today”.
“The appearance within our lifetime of bacteria resistant to drugs, and of animal and plant pests resistant to insecticides, shows how evolution continues today through the ‘survival of the fittest’”.
“There is a theory of evolution which combines our knowledge of biology, genetics and fossils to explain the processes that underline the facts of evolution”.
“Scientists constantly test their ideas by predicting the relationships between different organisms, many of which have since been confirmed, and they refine the theory as new discoveries are made”.
“For more than 100 millions years, dinosaurs ruled the land. During that time many different types flourished for a while, and then were replicated by newly-evolved types”
“A Modern Dinoasur?” – “Recent discoveries have shown that at least some dinosaurs had feathers, and that birds are direct descendents of one group of carnivorous dinosaurs”.
“Tyrannosaurus Rex” – “One of the largest predators of all time”… “living around 70 million years ago”.
EVOLUTION – ADAPTATION OR DESIGN?
“In evolution, however, organisms are limited by what they inherit from their ancestors and by the properties of the biological materials of which they are made”. [A legitimate question for us might be ‘how then can one species become another?’]
A picture is shown of a “reconstruction of later Jurassic (155 million years ago) ichthyosaur”.
COUSINS AND ANCESTORS
“Humans are not descended from chimpanzees, or from any of the great apes living today, but we are related to them. They are our distant cousins”.
In exhibit no 5 in this section, we read, “the first mammals evolved around 230 million years ago. They were small, shrew-like insect eaters. One of them was the ancestor of all mammals alive today, from the tiniest shrew to the biggest whale, and even us!”
Also, man is related to sponges, sea squid and bacteria, and newts.
In exhibit no 11, we read, “by 380 million years ago, animals with jaws, lungs and four limbs had evolved. These early four-legged amphibians are the ancestors of many animals alive today, from newts to humans”.
FOSSILS AND EVOLUTION
This argues in favour of rock layers of different ages.
“FOSSILS – LIFE OF THE PAST”
Under a heading, “The Importance of Fossils”, we are told, “only a tiny fraction of living things become fossils”. [We could therefore argue that a massive amount of evidence is simply ignored!]
“HOW EVOLUTION HAPPENS”
“Eyes and wings have reached their present state through countless small changes over many millions of years”.
“THE POWER OF FLIGHT”
“Pterosaurs, or flying reptiles, were the first to take to the air more than 200 million years ago, but they became extinct 65 millions years ago.”
“Birds conquered the air more than 140 million years ago”.
“Bats first flew more than 50 million years ago”.
There is a major time-line section dealing with the geological origins of Ireland – a “geological odyssey in eleven episodes”.
Under a heading “DEEP TIME” we read,
“Planet earth was formed more than 4500 million years ago”
“… the young earth suffered its greatest catastrophe – a collision with another planet, perhaps half its size. The resulting debris formed the moon”.
Slightly dubious headings are used – eg “Rock of Ages” where we read that “the oldest rocks in Ireland were formed 1780 million years ago”; and the “Fiery Furnace”.