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2016 Special Summer Exhibit - "The Science Behind Mythical Creatures: Monsters and Extinct Animals"

2016-7-23 (Sat) - 2016-8-27 (Sat)

At The Museum of Osaka University, we will be holding the 2016 Special Summer Exhibit "The Science Behind Mythical Creatures: Monsters and Extinct Animals" from Saturday, July 23 until Saturday, August 27, 2016 along with Toyonaka City and the Toyonaka City Board of Education.

This exhibit will tie together the extraordinary gods and monsters found in old stories and lore and the science of paleontology to deliver scientific fun that exceeds the limits of science and fantasy. We will have over 100 fossils and skeletal specimens on display not only from the Kansai region, but from the rest of Japan and all over the world, while also displaying the latest research results. Additionally, we'll compare the monsters that appeared in woodblock paintings and picture scrolls to pursue the mysteries of extinct animals the actually existed and imaginary animals.

Content of the Exhibits and Major Items on Display

Part 1: Ancient People and the Dragons They Saw

"Dragon bones" were used at medicine in ancient times. Many dragons are portrayed in iconography as having the head of an alligator and the horns of a deer. In Part 1, we will display the teeth of an elephant found in Japan, as well as actual fossils of alligators and deer found simultaneously in the same area.

Items on display: Stegodon elephant tusk fossils found in Hotaruike, Toyonaka; Alligator fossils and Sambar deer fossils found in Mie Prefecture, etc.

Part 2: Folklore and Ancient Plants and Animals

In Part 2, we'll compare depictions of imaginary animals that appear in classic stories and folklore with the fossils of animals that have gone extinct, and introduce the relation between them. Comparisons will include: relationship between demon horns and cloven-hoofed animal horns, the Cyclops and elephant skull fossils, tengu claws and shark teeth fossils, tengu heads and whale skull fossils, the animals over which the hare crossed in the folk tale "The Hare of Inaba" and shark/alligator fossils, tsuki no osagari (moon droppings) and vicarya shell fossils, nue (Japanese chimera) and carnivore fossils, griffon and protoceratops skull fossils, embryological knowledge about a two-headed cow, and the theory that volcanoes are caused by a big monster yamata no orochi.

Items on display: Primitive deer fossils from Matsue, deer fossils from Seto Inland Sea, replica Stegodon aurorae skull fossil, isanacetus (whale) fossil from Mie Prefecture, Tengu-Sharekobe-Mekiki-Engi (HIRAGA Gennai,1776), vicarya fossils from Gifu Prefecture, rabbit fossils from the Kobiwako Group, replica red panda fossils from Niigata Prefecture, replica protoceratops skull fossils, taxidermy and skeletal specimens of two-headed ox, X-ray CT analysis video, volcanic bombs, etc.

Part 3: Paleontology of Drawings of Monsters and Extinct Animals

Historical materials and work of arts regarding gods and monsters associated with extinct animals will be on display.

Items on display: Hyakki Yagyo Emaki (Shinjuan-hon) (reproduction), Azumanishiki Chuuya Kurabe Ugayafukiaezu-no-mikoto (Chikanobu), etc.

Museum Lecture

Venue: Seminar Room, 3F, Machikaneyama Shugakukan, The Museum of Osaka University

Doors will open from 30 minutes prior to the lecture.

Capacity: 40 (Seating is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.)

Prior registration not required.

Part 1: Science of Mythical Creatures as seen from Folkloristics and Paleontology

Date and Time: Saturday, August 6, 2016 - 14:00 ~ 14:50
Lecturers: SAITO Jun (Professor, Faculty of Letters, Tenri University), OGINO Shinkai (Paleontologist, Doctor of Science)

Part 2: Gallery Talk

Date and Time: Saturday, August 6, 2016 - 15:00 ~ 16:00
Museum staff will give commentaries on the exhibit.

Overview of The Museum of Osaka University

Hours: 10:30 ~ 17:00 (Admission to the museum ends at 16:30)
Admission Fee: Free
Closed: Sundays, Holidays
Tel: 06-6850-6284
Address: Machikaneyama Shugakukan, The Museum of Osaka University, 1-20 Machikaneyama-cho, Toyonaka City, Osaka, 560-0043

Date: 2016-7-23 (Sat) - 2016-8-27 (Sat)
Organizer: The Museum of Osaka University
Venue: Machikaneyama Shugakukan, The Musem of Osaka University
Registration: Registration is not required for this event.
Contact: The Museum of Osaka University / Toyonaka City, Toyonaka City Board of Education / Kaitokudo for the 21st Century, Osaka University / Osaka Museum of Natural History / Ota Memorial Museum of Art / Science Monster / Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University / Lake Biwa Museum / Shinshu Shimachi Fossil Museum / Togakushi Museum of Natural History / Nishiura Seigado / Mie Prefectural Museum / Mizunami Fossil Museum

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