Florida Museum of Natural History Kevin Renard

Nature on Display: In their primeval prowess, the sharks of our seas our largely dominant. Evolved to create a predator to stand the test of time, sharks have always been a favorite animal of mine. This daunting set of jaws was part of a striking wall of several sets of shark species' jaws, tracing back through millions and millions of years of prehistoric eras like this Megalodon, all the way to the modern white shark. What the exhibit was able to show was the fascinating process of evolution, and how, although they all share a common ancestor and commonalities, every shark had its unique traits that specialized it and allowed it to thrive. Something about this process and being able to see proof of it is so astounding, and really puts us humans into the perspective of the timeline of Earth.
Nature and Ethics: While sadly the butterfly garden was closed during my trip, but I found ethical optimism in an unexpected place. I've been to the butterfly gardens before several years prior, and while I remember it well, I either missed or forgot this little window to the lab for the butterflies. It's easy to miss. I was touched because in seeing the incubation and study of the pupae and the newly formed butterflies, I was at peace with our place in the "biotic community". We will never coincide with the other animals like our evolutionary ancestors had at one point, in today's age we are far too interventionist, and typically that is something that rubs me the wrong way, especially seeing the decimation and extinction of a myriad of animal species across the globe. The lab, through, reaffirmed in me the belief that we can intervene in a way that helps these animal species as well, and I felt connected to nature in a new way. The Museum as a whole, in it's presentation of natural history and natural realities, draws the visitor in to be more educated, and in being more educated we find the path to understanding and connecting with nature.
Nature and the Human Spirit: In our day to day lives, it's easy to lose touch with nature, with our modern housing and infrastructure to our technology, i bet there are days I don't even step on the grass. But this is not who we are, this is not where we come from. Going to the museum, learning like this kid is, that's how you become connected with nature, and in doing so, yourself. Taking a step back from our ordinary lives, deprived from nature, we appreciate ourselves and the Earth more.

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