Do the Evolution
By Matt Wood in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 7, 2006 5:15PM
This week the Field Museum opened a $17 million exhibit on evolution called "Evolving Planet." The 27,000-square-foot exhibit is one of the museum's biggest, and is designed to illustrate the evolution of plant and animal life over 4 billion years. It features an expanded collection of dinosaur fossils, massive high-definition video screens displaying primordial oceans, and lifelike, fleshed-out models built from fossils, including a full-body recreation of early hominid diva Lucy. The model of Lucy was even built with silicon skin and thousands of individual hairs. "She is not a human and not an ape," anthropologist Robert Martin says, "But she's 100% sexy."
Though museum officials say the timing is just a coincidence, the display opens as Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection faces another round of criticism from creationists. A nationwide poll in October found that 53 percent of adult Americans believed that "God created humans in their present form exactly the way the Bible describes it." 53 percent. Of adults. Another 51 percent believe that the remote control to their television actually works because a small bird flies out of it and changes the channel for them, and that their vacuum is really just a little wooly mammoth that snorts dirt.
The new exhibit replaces a smaller "Life Over Time" evolution exhibit, and will become the museum's main dinosaur display. The exhibit is free with admission to the rest of the museum.
Top photo courtesy of Mauricio Rubio. Bottom photo an artist's rendering of Chicagoist's vacuum cleaner.