“Crocs – Ancient Predators in a Modern World,” a traveling exhibition that explores the rich and complex lives of crocodilians, will be on display at the National Geographic Museum in Washington from Jan. 27 through May 8, 2016. The exhibition explores the remarkable diversity of prehistoric crocodyliforms, the biology and behavior of modern crocodilians and their precarious relationship to human societies.
Crocodilians have flourished for more than 200 million years and the group once included a rich diversity of forms — from galloping land predators and jumping insect eaters to pug-nosed herbivores and dolphin-like pelagic hunters. Crocodilians alive today are specialized as stealthy aquatic predators with rugged bodies, keen senses and incredible strength. Crocodilians also live complex social lives — they communicate with a range of sounds and subtle postures and provide their young with tender parental care.
The backbone of the exhibition is a series of dioramas — some living, some modeled — that depict crocodilians in their native habitats. Some of the world’s most intriguing species are featured in the exhibition, including the African dwarf crocodile, the slender-snouted crocodile, the Siamese crocodile and the American alligator.
“‘Crocs’ is an immersive adventure into the world of these fascinating ancient creatures that continue to captivate us today,” said National Geographic Society Vice President for Exhibitions Kathryn Keane. “This brand new exhibition will launch its national tour right here in Washington, D.C.”
Videos of Dr. Kent Vliet, the primary scientific advisor for the project, as well as other experts, appear as a running thread throughout the exhibition. As the “digital curator,” Dr. Vliet introduces important themes and offers occasional interpretive insights as though he were accompanying visitors through the exhibition. The exhibition also includes work from National Geographic Society explorers including Federico Fanti, Natalia Rossi, Nicolas Mathevon, Jenny Daltry and Trevor Frost, whose work ranges from crocodile communication to crocodile population conservation.
Interactive components allow visitors to listen to croc calls and learn what scientists think they mean, create 3D animations of extinct crocodiles and test their crocodilian IQs with fun facts and croc trivia. Visitors can also view a life-sized model of the world’s largest crocodile ever exhibited in the Western Hemisphere, Gomek; explore how crocs communicate with sight, sound, smell and touch; and test their strength against a croc on a modified force gauge while a video demonstrates how researchers measure the bites of real crocs.
“Crocs – Ancient Predators in a Modern World” was created by Peeling Productions, the exhibit arm of Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, an institution in Pennsylvania accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Peeling Productions previously brought two other popular exhibitions to the National Geographic Museum: “Geckos: Tails to Toepads” in 2010 and “Frogs – A Chorus of Colors” in 2008.
For full details on the exhibition, visit http://events.nationalgeographic.com/national-geographic-museum/.
The National Geographic Museum (1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.), is open every day (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for National Geographic members, military, students, seniors and groups of 25 or more; $10 for children ages 5-12; and free for local school, student and youth groups (18 and under; advance reservation required). Tickets may be purchased online at www.ngmuseum.org; via telephone at (202) 857-7700; or in person at the National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, N.W., between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information on group sales, call (202) 857-7281.
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. It funds hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of its members and donors, the Society works to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.