Sentosa’s S.E.A. Aquarium’s latest exhibition features prehistoric creatures from the past, and offered an educational journey into many of the living fossils that are still extant today.
Visitors were greeted by a massive plesiosaur that served to illustrate the fossilisation process. It was a dramatic display indeed, but the paleontology geek in me couldn’t help but feel that such a sculpture in the actual proportions and size (and neck curvature!) would already have been breathtaking without any exaggeration necessary!
At another display, we observed some “fossil” imprints of the Ichthyosaur, as well as other foam models of placoderm, coelacanth, and a megalodon jaw. These classic monsters made for nice photo opportunities! Let’s hope next year we also get to see other classic monsters such as the and the mosasaur and the kronosaurus.
A real treat that the exhibition was a section dedicated to live specimens of living fossils such as horseshoe crabs, alligator gar, arowana, tadpole shrimp, hermit crabs, and lungfish. Our favourite were these rare axoloti, endangered mexican salamander that live in cold water. Of particular interest to scientists are their ability to regenerate their limbs!
I have to confess that this was actually the first time I could study these cute animals up close, as they are on the CITES list. Measuring about 20 cm long, their eyes are lidless and they have external gill stalks to move oxygenated water. They come in different colours and even can change their colours for camouflage! They have vestigial teeth and eat their prey via suction.
Other wonderous creatures included the mudskipper, which is very commonly found in Singapore (The ones I’ve seen at Sungei Buloh grow up to be really huge), the Nautilus (below), and the Brittle Stars (right at the bottom).