The 27th ASEF Board of Governors’ Meeting in Singapore (1-2 December 2011) was followed by a special tour for the Governors to the Singapore Raffles Museum of Biodiversity (3 December 2011). Situated inside the National University campus, it is the national depository for fauna in Singapore for long-term research and science.
The Museum, which has over half a million specimens, archives the fascinating natural history of Singapore and Southeast Asia. Specimens include bones of extinct mammals, and birds, insects, reptiles, corals and other vertebrates and invertebrates.
This extensive collection of biodiversity is one of the biggest attractions for many international researchers. These specimens are preserved in a variety of ways so as to maximise their research, conservation and educational value. Such studies help to understand changes in biodiversity better, such as changes in diet, growth patterns and breeding cycles.
Currently, the Museum is divided into two sections – the first is a public gallery with flora and fauna exhibits that is open to all; while the second is a special shop floor with a range of scientific specimens preserved for over a century. Very few guests are allowed to visit the shop floor with special permission. The ASEF Governors highly appreciated this special journey of amazing discoveries in Singapore.
Sharing this joy of discovery with his fellow Governors, Professor Leo Tan, ASEF Governor for Singapore and the Chairman of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Fundraising Committee, said: “This is not a static Museum. We are constantly collecting species from around the world. By 2014, Singapore will have a new building constructed to move all our collections for public sharing. This will be the new Museum of Biodiversity. This 7,500 sq m new structure will be part of Singapore’s cultural heritage. It is built with money raised from public and private donations.”
A new attraction of the Museum is the trio of dinosaur bones, discovered in a quarry in Wyoming in the United States. These authentic skeletons belong to sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus. It is said that these dinosaurs are so far the largest animals on Earth. These are preserved by the Museum for research purpose. For all the ASEF Governors, it was a unique experience to observe the skeletons so closely.
See more photos of their visit and the 27th ASEF Board of Governors’ Meeting on our Flickr page.