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Posts tagged #hippopotamus
StoryBoo: Sesame Street come to my house (2)
Sorry the very end is missing - ran out of time. I better learn to speed up my storytelling?
StoryBoo: Sesame Street comes to my house (1)
Welcome to the life on Earth Gallery. I’m Joe Botting, the Assistant Curator of Natural Sciences, and I look after the geology collections. As you come into the gallery there’s an enormous case on your left – walk around the back of that and you will find the partial articulated skeleton of a hippopotamus. This is one of the most famous fossils to be found in Leeds itself and was discovered in 1852 in Armley at Mssrs. Longley brickworks. The people cutting the clay for the bricks started to find large number of pieces of bone and, after a while, they started finding very big bits of bone which, in their own words, “could not be Christian bones”. These were quickly sent to Philosophical Hall, where the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society was based, and Henry Denny came out to examine the bones and got quite excited. He spent quite a long time digging and collecting further bones and eventually recovered the remains of five hippos, one elephant and an aurochs. What you see in front of you are some of the bones which have been assembled to make a semi-complete skeleton. They’ve been stained very dark brown by a varnishing technique and you can see the original labels are still preserved in a lot of cases. The bones themselves are 125,000 years old, they’ve been dated by carbon dating. This shows us that, 125,000 years ago, Leeds was actually a lot warmer than it is now. We’re used to thinking in terms of there being an ice age in the past - and it’s true - but we’re still in the ice age. The ice age has warm and cold periods, we’re in a warm period at the moment, and this hippo lived in Leeds during the last warm period. There’s undoubtedly much more to be discovered in the sediments underneath Leeds.
Curator Joe Botting talks about Leeds's famous hippopotamus fossil.