Skeleton secrets revealed at new family-friendly exhibition

Keeper of biology Dan Gordon with the skull of a gharial.

Keeper of biology Dan Gordon with the skull of a gharial.

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The skeleton secrets of the animal world are to be revealed at a major new exhibition which starts this weekend at a North East museum.

Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World will see visitors embark on a journey through land, air and ocean to uncover the key roles bones play in animal movement, survival and evolution.

Conservation technician Jenny Youngman works on a tapir skull.

Conservation technician Jenny Youngman works on a tapir skull.

The family-friendly exhibition opens at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Barras Bridge, Newcastle, tomorrow.

It draws on the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s vast osteology collection and has been developed entirely by the Great North Museum team.

It is the second original natural history exhibition at the museum since it re-opened in 2009, following Spineless in 2015.

Complete skeletons, individual bones, baleen, teeth and horns from more than 100 different animals will be featured, alongside important fossils and preserved specimens.

A polar bear skull. Pic: Dan Gordon.

A polar bear skull. Pic: Dan Gordon.

Caroline McDonald, manager at the museum, said: “This exhibition will be like a giant x-ray of the animal kingdom, and I can’t wait for our younger audience to come and explore these bony beasts with us.

"We want everyone to see animals in a new light, and to leave the museum hungry to learn more about how they live, move and survive.”

Material on display will include everything from enormous rhino skulls and moose antlers to tiny frog, bat and salamander skeletons.

There's also a narwhal skull, complete with tusk, and bones from the now-extinct dodo, collected from a swamp in Mauritius.

Dan Gordon, keeper of biology at the museum, added: “Many of the bones have never been seen by the public before, so the exhibition offers a unique glimpse into our amazing collection.”

* Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World opens to the public at 10am tomorrow and runs to Sunday, 14 May. Entry is free, but donations are welcome.

Gateshead-based puppeteers 4M will give three walkabout performances using giant skeleton puppets on the opening day, at 11am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm.