Culture Culture

06/08/2022 - 07:14

Fossils and the story about life

An exhibition of the origin of life, with thousands of fossil specimens aged 100 million to billions of years, has been open to the public in Hue for the first time, bringing surprising excitements to the viewers.

Fossil specimens being considered “treasures” of the origin of life

Introducing the collection of paleozoic “treasures” 

The exhibition themed “Fossils – The journey of exploring the origin of life on Earth”, held by Hanoi Fossil Museum in cooperation with Hue Monuments Conservation Center from June 25th to October 31st at the relic of Ministry of Education (76 Han Thuyen Street, Hue City), has attracted many tourists and locals since its opening.

With over 2000 fossil specimens of flora, fauna and human beings under the investigation of the most pretigious palaeontologists, paleobotanists, and paleoanthropologists throughout the country, the exhibition introduces to the viewers the story about life hidden under the inanimate layers of soil and rock. This exhibition includes the biggest collection of paleozoic “treasures”, with one and every specimen telling the story about life in the ancient time.

Many original specimens are collected from foreign countries, and most preciously, many of them are the ones found in many localities in Vietnam, with scientific info in combination with vivid artworks and intriguing stories. 

The exhibition drawing students’ attention

Most noticeable is the oldest piece of rock in Vietnam, aged over 2.9 billion years brought back from Hung Khanh waterfall, Tran Yen district, Yen Bai province in 2001 by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Ngoc Nam, former Dean of Geology & Geography, University of Science, Hue University. It has been through many tectonic and orogenesis cycles, and was once the “witness” of the development history of creatures, ranging from the micro-sized one-celled creatures to giant animals.

Viewers can also understand the evolving process of plants since their ashoring till the current flora on Earth, see the amber dinosaur feather aged 99 millions year, judged by experts as an extremely rare one of Elektorornis, teeth fossils of homo sapiens, nautilus fossils, amber drop of time, the collection of amber ancient coral registered by Hanoi Fossil Museum as the national treasures, including sun coral, rugosa coral, tabulata coral, etc.

The oldest piece of rock in Vietnam aged over 2.9 billion years

The exhibition also introduces fossils aged millions of years ago found in Thua Thien Hue such as Carboniferous Brachiopod (358 – 325 million years ago) found in Phong Dien rock mine, which is considered an important fossil for determining Carboniferous geology; crinoids, the creatures living in the seabed in Paleontology collected in Phong Dien rock mine, Trilobites, one of the oldest arthopodson Earth, aged 358-323 million years, was also found in Phong Dien rock mine.

Telling the story about the origin of life

Fossils are the remains of creatures left in layers of the Earth’s crust. Through fossil investigation, scientists can know that the quantity of species ever on Earth was very diverse. As compared to it, the number of currently-existing creatures only constitutes a small proportion. And, in comparison with the long history of living creatures, the birth and evolution history of human beings is only a brief moment.

Based on the fossils and characteristics of layers of soil and rock, scientists can recover the history of the development of the Earth’s crust from 3.8 billion years ago when there were the remains of the first creatures.

According to Prof. Dr. Ta Hoa Phuong, President of Association for Paleontology and Stratigraphy, it is the first time an exhibition of fossils is held in Vietnam, introducing the oldest to the newest collection aged 600 million years until now, which includes small one-celled creatures to giant animals.

He said: “The exhibition marks a great effort of Hanoi Fossil Museum in collecting specimens everywhere in the world in order to create one of the most diverse collection in Vietnam today, some items of which are rare and precious. As scientists, we really appreciate and support Hanoi Fossil Museum’s collecting, researching and holding this exhibition.”

Dr. Nguyen Huu Hung, General Secretary of Association for Paleontology and Stratigraphy, said that this exhibition related to the very basic scientific study into the history of life on Earth. To collect such specimens, is a masterstroke, a passion for years devoted to the beauty and miracle of nature hundreds of millions of years ago.

Scientists have to read a lot of related materials of Vietnam and foreign countries, go on field trips, and excavate layers of soil and rock to find those with fossil specimens. Some specimens are found in foreign countries.

Not only does the exhibition have scientific significance, but it also helps viewers explore the mystery of life of hundreds of millions of years ago. This is the destination, nurturing students’ interest in paleontology so as to explore the development process, the diversity and the time when life appeared on Earth till now.

Story and photos: MINH HIEN