Eight months after it was closed for renovation and refurbishment, the exhibition hall of Prehistoric Life at the Nehru Science Centre, Worli, was opened to the public on Friday morning.
The hall was first inaugurated in 2002.
“But nine years had passed and only 20% of the models were in good condition and working. Now we have transformed 80% of the models and added movements using the latest technology,” said Umesh Rustagi, curator at the centre.
Prehistoric animals are those that existed on earth more than 5,500 years ago, before humans started recording history. They include dinosaurs that measured 24 meters long and flying reptiles too.
The hall goes through evolution of early forms of life staring with the first animals – one-celled organism in sea, invertebrates, vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates and early man in a chronological order.
With about 35 prehistoric animals on display, you can now have a huge dinosaur moving its neck towards you as if it wanted to talk to you or a dragonfly attempting to fly by flapping its wings. On display is also a pterosaur — a giant flying leviathan that ruled the skies about 150 million years ago.
Some models have been fitted with electronic sensors in them. So they can sense if a visitor is close to it and start opening its mouth or moving backwards. So while 80% models have locomotion and animations incorporated in them, the remaining are static models such as those of land scorpion, lemur, woolly mammoth and musk.
“This hall is a way of getting children to understand all about pre-historic animals. Since this topic is not taught in our classrooms, these models will provide them with a very good understanding of chronological events of evolution,” said Rustagi.