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These were the questions swirling around the People's United Bank Gallery on Tuesday, moments before Barnum Museum Executive Director Kathleen Maher slid back the drapes to reveal the newest "curiosity" to take up residency here. As the moment of truth arrived -- riding a crest of anticipation -- a chorus of oohhs and aahhs from the 50 or so amazed attendees followed.
It was a fitting reaction since the ancient skeleton -- displayed in a huge, glass case -- could change the course of history. Many in the audience shouted out questions. And, in typical P. Barnum fashion, few answers were given.
We have no answers This is right out of P. Barnum's playbook. As Maher pointed out, Barnum, a 19th-century master showman and Bridgeport mayor, loved humbugs -- as jokes and hoaxes were called then. Barnum featured many humbugs at his Museum of Curiosities in New York City in the s, including the world-famous Feejee Mermaid, a creature that appeared to be half monkey, half fish.
State Archeologist Nick Bellantonia professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticutput Tuesday's dramatic discovery into perspective. See artifacts from P. Barnum, Tom Thumb, and many others. But before jumping to any conclusions, it is best to remember that Tuesday was April 1 -- observed in many cultures as All Fools' Day -- an occasion to play good-natured, practical jokes. Amid all the frivolity at the museum -- and a transcript filled with "maybe," "perhaps," "possibly" and "could be" -- Bellantoni said carbon dating of Teen chat Bridgeport wi bones "might" indicate the specimen is about 3, years old.
That's yet to be done, however. Mayor Bill Finch wondered whether this extraordinary discovery might put Bridgeport in the center of a worldwide debate -- and subsequently, boost tourism. One of the deep thinkers present to lend insight into the day's proceedings was Gregg Danchodirector of Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo and master of all creatures great and small. Not to be outdone by the unveiled beast, Dancho said, "Yes, we have one, too.
In our basement at the zoo. His name is Bart and we do not let visitors see him because we do not want to scare them. In an earlier announcement, the museum said, "Professor William Willersa zoologist and professor of anatomy at the University of Wisconsinacquired the specimen in for the university after he was approached by members of the Archaeological Society about conducting further research on the specimen to authenticate it.
Bellantoni would be able to continue the investigation using new technologies.
The fossilized bones resemble a creature that is half human, half horse -- a centaur, something considered a myth for eons -- and now, it resides at the Barnum Museum for all to see. There were no other objects in the cave to indicate details of the creature's history. The specimen was reported to the Archaeological Society of Argos Orestiko in and removed in to the Society's laboratory in Volos where osteologists, under the direction of Achilles Mitropoulus, the Society's director, assembled the specimen in the upright pose.
Quinnipiac professors Gerald ConlogueRobert Lombardo and William Hennesseyalong with several students from the medical imaging program, worked together recently to create a huge X-ray of the entire specimen. They were also present to discuss the technical challenges in recording its size at 84 inches long and 60 inches high. Maher said Barnum believed that museums were meant "to stimulate thinking and engage the community.
And that's what we are doing today. Most at the news conference seemed to believe that the specimen is a great big humbug, but so what?
Looking also is her son Adam Ruskin, 5. The skeleton was a gift from the University of Wisconsin. Mystery bones Barnum Museum, Main St. Free; donations accepted. In-Depth Coverage. What happens to dogs saved from illegal fighting rings? CT senior ant winner inspired by becoming a 'mom' to grandson.Teen chat Bridgeport wi
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