Florida Museum of Natural History Brendan Cassie

The Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land Exhibit was very interesting to me because it allowed me to see not only the skeletons of animals that used to roam Florida, but also the size of many of these animals which are far bigger than most things we see today. The exhibit captured my attention by combining fossils of plants and animals that used to live in Florida and depicting them as they may have looked in the wild, for instance a predator's skeleton would have been placed over the prey's skeleton to show that it was eating the prey. From the exhibit I learned that the environment of prehistoric Florida was the driving factor for many of the features of the animals that were exhibited and that as they evolved, traits such as size, became less necessary for survival. The museum as a whole provided brief insight into what life was like in Florida in the past and I was able to compare it to how different it is now.
The museum had an exhibit on the Calusa people and went into detail on how these people were able to coexist with their environment an live sustainable lives without depleting their resources. As I walked through the exhibit I could see that these people lived with their environment instead of trying to use all of its resources rapidly. I thought about how different our lives are today where we mindlessly chop down forests to build apartment complexes, and have no intention of trying to replace what we have taken. Many of the other visitors to the museum had similar reactions of awe to seeing the many exhibits that the museum contained. The Butterfly Rainforest seemed to draw the biggest crowd because it let visitors see many different species of butterflies and how they interact with their environment. The museum made me realize how far we are from achieving the responsibility to our environment that Leupold imagines, and it would take a lot of effort to come close to reaching his dream.
The museum helps us to step out of our ordinary lives by giving us a brief insight into Florida's history and imagine how life would have been so that we can compare it to the present world that we live in today. It also shows us that we are living in an extremely small segment of time and millions of years of life have preceded us and life will continue long after we die. By showing us this it makes us think of the unknown occurrences of the past and what may happen in the future.
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Brendan Cassie

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