Taiwan Day 134: Ice Age - Jan. 12, 2014 | Travel in Asia

Monday, January 13, 2014

Taiwan Day 134: Ice Age - Jan. 12, 2014

#5yearsinTaiwan

Yuka -> a baby mammoth that was trapped in ice 39,000 years ago was here in Taipei for a special exhibit in Chiang-Kai Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall.

I went to CKS Memorial using MRT by transferring from the Bannan Line to the Tamsui Line in Taipei Main Station. It was just very easy to find this place as after I go out of Exit 5 I was already there. But I have to walk for maybe 500 meters to reach this large blue and white magestic structure resembling the Temple of Heaven in mainland China to see the exhibit.

I got a discounted ticket for NTD 250 and there were some house rules however I could not read most of them because they are in Chinese. There some short sentences in English like 'No Photography allowed'. At first I was not taking pictures but I saw a woman taking a lot of photos so I just took also my own pictures of the skeletal remains of animals that lived during the ice age. There was a skull of saber-toothed tiger,a skull of primitive horse and large skeleton of a bison. Aside from Yuka there was another interesting 'preserved' animal in the exhibit. It was a primitive rhino but only a few people were looking at it. They are more interested in Yuka.

I noticed that each part of the exhibit has some orange colored boxes with numbers and I also saw some people holding some audio devices. I guessed that the numbered boxes served as guide for people who rented this audio devices. I didn't ask for the audio device as it was not free and I was thinking that it was in Chinese so I it will be useless.

The main attraction was, of course, Yuka. The remains of this baby mammoth from Russia were still intact. Not only its bones but also its flesh and hair. I saw some videos of its initial autopsy and it showed fresh blood coming from its intact skin. I made some research about Yuka and it was first displayed in Yokahama, Japan. I also learned that scientist have obtained samples from Yuka for sequencing.

Normally, a mammoth can only be studied through its fossil bones but Yuka was unique as this baby mammoth still has its skin and even hair. I even have the opportunity to have a feel of the texture of a mammoth hair. There was this large circular glass container resembling like a giant inverted Petri dish with some holes in it. Inside the glass container were hair samples from the mammoth. I tried to insert my index finger in one small hole and the texture was like 'abaca'. I don't know if this was really mammoth hair or just 'abaca'. They might be fooling the people. lol

I was not able to take photos of Yuka as there were observers from the exhibit management warning people not to take photos of Yuka inside its refrigerated glass container. I just content myself by looking in this extinct specie and got amazed of how evolution worked.

At the end of the exhibit was a store selling 'mammoth memorabilia'. Aw! So this is how Taiwan earns income from exhibits. They don't just sell ticket they also sell some merchandise. There were a lot of interesting things to buy such as the mammoth stuff toys. It was the first time that I saw a mammoth stuff toy and it was cute. I bought something useful. It was a plastic folder/envelope with three proud looking mammoths in its cover.

The mammoths were already extinct and we should learn from them. If mankind will still continue to produce green house gases, the effects of climate change could not be reversed and we could face extinction from our own Ice Age!

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The "Taipei kong mahal" (My beloved Taipei) travel series will return on October 3. ;)


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