Europa fa un milióA selection of Catalan sausage
Along with hearing about an entire species of humans who all had smaller brains than me and imagining 12-tonne furry elephants doin’ their thang, one of my favourite things about taking a peak at prehistory is the humbling sense of scale it gives us. It’s easy to get caught in economic blues or rants about the region/country/nation we live in, but all this seems less significant when put in the context of geologic time.
A temporary exhibit called ‘Europa fa un milió d’anys’ at the Barcelona chapter of the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya turns back the clock, past last week’s Barça match, past Jordi Pujol and even past the invention of pa amb tomàquet all the way to the Europe of one million years ago, a time when our home looked a lot like the African savannah of today. Hippos cooled off near Girona while sabre-tooth cats prowled Crespià and one of our suspected ancestors called (grunted) the Iberian Peninsula home: a jawbone of Homo antecessor found near Burgos has been dated at 1.3 million years old!
All this is conveyed through life-sized models of fossil skulls and reconstructions of how some animals may have looked (intimidating but cute, as long as the fangs are plastic). There are also charts (in Catalan) explaining how different disciplines help reconstruct a lost world using items like fossils and sediments, and an explanation of how climate change affected flora and fauna long before Al Gore’s birth. I even learned that continents move as fast as our nails grow. Unfortunately, the exhibit is small and leaves you wanting more, so be sure to check out the excellent permanent archaeology exhibit.
And if the economy has you down, consider this: who wouldn’t prefer getting laid off to being mauled by a sabre-toothed cat?
Reviewer rating: two out of five
Europa fa un milió d’anys
Until June 14th; €3 or €2.10 reductions
Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya
Pg Sta. Madrona 39-41; Metro: Espanya (L1, L3) or Poble Sec (L3)