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Outdoor Museum

Travel to Prehistoric World on Bio-Geo Path

 

This learning center is located in Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Phayathai Campus. Many people know this faculty well, especially its excellent researches, teaching, etc. However, you may have never known that there is an outdoor museum named Bio-Geo Path hidden under wood lot in front of Faculty of Science. It is one of the largest green zones in Bangkok. It received “Wonderful Front Yard” Award from Bangkok Metropolitan Administration many years in a row. This outdoor museum is a learning center for youths, students, and guests of the faculty. Moreover, it is also a learning center for anyone who is interested in history and evolution of the earth and creatures, in the environment that promotes self-learning.


The museum exhibits rocks from various eras, prehistoric fossils, elements, and evolution of plants and animals from the past until the present. In addition, there are explanation plates along the path. The crook path is made of rock plates represent changing from era to era. There are large rock platforms and plates that explain about each era along the path. The first spot is Precambrian Era which is 542 million years ago. At the first state, the earth shell was not stable yet. There were a lot of volcanoes that release hot gas to the air. The deepest layer of rock is metamorphic rock that nowadays can be found in Chiang Mai, Tak, Kanchanaburi, Chon Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Since the rocks have changed completely, there are no trace of fossil appear on them.

The next spot is Paleozoic Era which is divided into 6 periods: the Cambrian, the Ordovician, the Silurian, the Devonian, the Carboniferous, and the Permian. In this era, you will see sedimentary rock and fossils indicate that it used to be the shallow sea, such as sandstone from Cambrian Era found on Tarutao Island. Some areas in some periods were the deep seas and the iced seas. There were some igneous rocks, but not very much. You will see sedimentary rocks, sandstones, mudstones, thin layer limestone, thick layer limestone, and chert. And then, you will see an ancient rain forest in Carboniferous Period which has various kinds of fern and conifer, and ancestors of huperzia and lycopodium such as 40-meter lepidodendron which is scaled down for exhibiting in the area.


Abundance of vegetation in this period is the origin of petroleum created by fossilized organic materials. The next spot, you will see a large shark jaw which has the same scale with the real one. Paleontologists estimated that this fossil might be 300 million years old. There is also a giant dragonfly. Next is Saraburi limestone which is 300-400 million years old. It came from the same period as a prehistoric fossil of a feathered reptile named Archaeopteryx or “ancient wing”. It is about a foot tall which is an evident that bird evolved from reptile.

The next era is the Mesozoic which is sedimentation of limestone and sedimentary rock from Triassic period to Jurassic period such as limestone and mudstone found in Lampang and Tak, and fossils of dinosaur, crocodile, turtle, fresh-water fish, petrified wood, etc. Moreover, granite, a kind of igneous rock, is also found along the line from the north to the south of Thailand. These rocks closely relate to the birth of base metal such as gold, copper, lead, zinc, tin, tungsten, and non-metal such as fluorite, barite, and feldspar. The end of this period is the extinction of dinosaurs which is 65 million years ago.

 

The last spot is Cenozoic Era which is divided into 2 periods: the Tertiary and the Quaternary. In the Tertiary, there was sedimentation of fresh-water basin between mountains. There was sedimentation of plants and animal fossils until they became coal, petroleum, natural gas, and ball clay. This period was the time that flowering plants and mammals spread out all over the land. Later in the Quaternary 2 million years ago until today, it is a period of human. There are volcano eruptions along the joints of earth shell. There are discoveries of human’s ancestors and prehistoric fossils such as clam, turtle, panda, fish, etc. The highlight of Bio-Geo Path is a half-sized mammoth which is standing besides a family of cavemen. There is also a parasite plant in the same family with Bua Phut which has the largest flower in the world. It can be found in the deep forest of southern Thailand. Furthermore, it is blossom only 1-2 weeks at the beginning of the year. It is very hard to find one, but you can see a realistic replica on Bio-Geo Path here.

Walking through each period on Bio-Geo Path, in order to study evolution of nature is similar to watch a movie. The experience on the rectangle area, which is 100 meter long and 3-15meter wide, is learning outside classroom which is more exciting and more interesting. This path is end at human evolution, but scientific knowledge is never end. Therefore, one might has some questions in mind, and what comes next is searching for real answers. This outdoor museum in the center of Bangkok might inspire some young visitors want to be a paleontologist in the future.

 
 
 

If any school would like to take students to visit Bio-Geo Path, an outdoor museum, and would like a guide, you can contact in advance at public relations office, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University. Tel. 0-2201-5032 Fax. 0-2201-5072

 

Administered by Department of Biology and Department of Plant Science, Faculty of Science, and Department of Geoscience, Mahidol University, Kanchanaburi Campus

 

For more information, please visit the following website: http://www.sc.mahidol.ac.th/CSR/?p=40

 

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