The Florida Natural History Museum by Paul calzada

Nature on display

The Carcharodon megalodon (Miocene megatoothed shark)

The Fossil Exhibit introduced me to various species which are extinct today. The fossil that caught my eye was the Carcharodon megalodon. I was amazed at its magnitude. Not only was its open jaw twice my height, but also its teeth were the size of my palms. I fear sharks at their normal size, but imagining a shark of this mass is terrifying. Clearly, if an exhibit can create these emotions, it amplifies the notion that these creatures were once deadly in their ecosystems. I definitely have never felt that way in a museum before.

This exhibit has actually also taught me about the natural world. It clearly proves the state of biodiversity. The complexity of life is not a recent phenomenon, but has always existed. There was a time in history where this massive shark was a normal occurrence. I could not experience this same awe through another medium because I can see first hand the enormity of the species. I truly enjoyed the fossil exhibit and museum because it revealed the significant complexity of past biodiversity and its link to the present natural world.

nature and ethics

The Butterfly Garden

Seeing the beauty and serenity of the butterflies in their habitat, I realized that the preservation of the natural environment is critical. I believe there is more humanity can do to aid in this process, further than the economic stances. Clearly, there is no price for an environment like this; it is priceless. Moving through the garden, I felt a tranquility, which enriched me and instantly relaxed me. This was a calming experience for me. Even others around me felt relieved, sitting in the benches and closing their eyes.

Indeed, the museum allowed for the connection between the people and nature. The allowance to roam free in the exhibit allowed us to view closely the complexity of the butterflies. Truly, viewing this splendor has awakened me to the significance of an ethical responsibility. It has taught me to personally fight for the conservation of areas like this, where species are preserved peacefully. I very much enjoyed the Butterfly Garden.

nature and the human spirit

The American Mastodon

The 3 million year old mastodon opened my eyes to another concept. If species like this continued to exist, rather than become extinct, humanity may have had a difficult time developing, let alone surviving. It is profound to think that the extinction of many of these predators led to the safe development of humanity. I imagined these themes as I stared at the 7 foot long tusks above me. In this instance, the exhibit eroded me from my ordinary life, thrusting me into an amazing past, which I was not fully educated upon.

The mastidon also reveals much about the majesty and mystery of the natural world. Each bone in its body was formatted to withstand its own weight. It is astonishing to think that naturally this could occur. This mystery and majesty is critical to our enjoyment of places like the Florida Natural History Museum, which allowed me to see deeply into the past which has very much shaped our present.


Florida Museum of Natural History. 2016. Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville. Visit Gainesville. Web. 14 Jan. 17. <>.

Created By
Paul Calzada

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