A Belgian museum is showing off some of its woolly mammoth bones in the bustling Brussels South railway station in hopes of luring travelers to get a fuller picture of Belgium’s rich geological history at the national museum.
For a small country, Belgium is rich in fossils, many of them on display at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
Staff there have prepared a display for the Brussels South or Gare du Midi Station, which is where the bones were discovered during construction of the station in the 1980s.
The bones were displayed in the station for 30 years but started showing their age so staff at the institute gave them a makeover.
Now they are ready for their unveiling.
They will be part of a display that will include a life-sized picture of the original mammoth they came from.
The five-bones display was arranged by Katelijn De Kesel, a designer with the institute.
She’s hopeful the bones will get the attention of travelers.
“It’s a very big station in Brussels, so a lot of international trains also arrive here. And so my hopes, well, I hope the refreshment will get people’s attention. And it’s really beautiful pieces that were put together again and so that people would be interested, wondering why they’re here and maybe come visit the museum. That would be great,” she said.
Mammuthus primigenius, better known as the woolly mammoth, roamed during the Pleistocene period 30,000 years ago.
Mammoth expert and senior researcher at the institutes paleontology department, Mietje Germonpré said the mammoths were a very successful in their time.
They lived in Europe, North America, and Northern Asia before becoming extinct.
Belgium didn’t even realize it was sitting on a fossil fortune until it started building roads and excavating during the 19th century.
“They were found when people were digging manually, sometimes mammoth were found, like this more or less complete skull that was found in Lier and is mounted here in our museum in Brussels. But also during the 20th century mammoth continued to be found,” said Mietje Germonpré.
That bounty is thanks to the countries geology, which includes ancient rocks and a continual addition of sands that have preserved every age in its sediments.
Many of the mammoth and dinosaur remains on display at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences feature up to 90 percent of the original skeleton.
That collection includes 30 iguanodon dinosaurs found in the 1880s in Bernissart, near the Belgian border with France.
These grazers are often believed to have run on two legs and lived 160 million years ago and stood 30 feet (9 meters) tall.
Matthew Little for Epoch Times
Matthew Little for NTD