The first thing to grab my attention where the bones of an Indian elephant called Maharajah. Maharajah walked all the way to Manchester from Edinburgh, after he wrecked the railway carriage which had been planned to transport him. After 10 years in the public spotlight at Belle Vue Zoo, Maharajah died. And years later, in 1941, his skeleton was sold to the Manchester Museum.
Fun fact : The Disputed Toll, a painting by Heywood Hardy, which is on display at Manchester Art Gallery shows an event in which Maharajah’s keeper disputed with the gate keeper at a toll road over the fee for the elephant to cross.
In the next room was a decoratively carved tusk which was an interesting contrast between the skeleton of an elephant that made an amazing journey in its life, and a tusk of an elephant that would have been poached for its ivory.
We then moved into the ancient Egyptian section of the museum. The museum has two ancient Egypt galleries: Daily Life and Death and the Afterlife. The picture below shows the skeleton of one of two non-genetic brothers that where mummified.
One mummy was paticualy well preserved, the body of Asru a 2,700-year-old chantress still had all of her skin. Unfortunately the majority of Asru was covered up after complaints about the mummies dignity, led to both Asru and the partially-wrapped male Khary and a child mummy, all being covered in shrouds.
We also had a brief chance to see Percy the plesiosaur. Me being the dinosaur enthusiast I am, started talking about the diet of a plesiosaur and how the common name “plesiosaur” applied both to the “true” plesiosaurs (Superfamily Plesiosauroidea), which include both long-necked (elasmosaurs) and short-necked (polycotylid) forms.
I would have continued regurgitating my knowledge of dinosaurs from the Triassic period if I hadn’t been stopped in my tracks by seeing the giant outline of a T-rex skeleton.
Named after Stan Sacrison, the amateur palaeontologist who discovered the skeleton, Stan the T. rex was excavated by the Black Hills Institute in 1992. What they eventually unearthed was the second most complete T. rex ever found (65% bone). Manchester Musuem now has a cast of this magnificent specimen.
Stan is contructed of 199 bones his huge skull containing 58 teeth, each bearing tiny serrations to cut through flesh and shaped to break through bone. Unlike mammals, dinosaurs grew new teeth throughout their lifetimes.
Stan had several healed puncture wounds on his skull suggesting that T. rex fought each other. One serious injury left Stan with a broken neck. The most interesting wound is a hole at the back of Stan’s skull which is a perfect match for a tooth from the lower jaw of another T. rex.
But alas, just as I had begun to nerd out over Stan’s bones, we where whisked away to have lunch. After some delicious pizza and a (slightly overpriced) Cola, we headed over to Harvey Nichols for a Q&A session and a tour.
After hearing from an expert in retail we had a look around the store (whilst trying to ignore the voice at the back of my head screaming “£200 for a jacket? I’m going to Primark”). I was paticuly drawn to the maniquines faces, then again I’m always drawn towards mustaches and flying hats.
Moving on from Harvey Nichols we went for a tour around the Manchester-city football grounds. The tour included everything from the V.I.P box to the locker rooms as well as the pitch itself. The guide also told us about the history of the club and the construction of the new stadium.
And then, to put the icing on the cake, I found my lighting equipment had arrived, so decided to try and set it up in the office…I need a bigger office.
One day I’ll have an office at electric works… one day…