Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Staten Island Museum’s Remember the Mastodon Exhibit

When we think of arts & culture in New York City, Staten Island usually isn’t the first place we think of. But the Staten Island Museum, located at 1000 Richmond Terrace in Snug Harbor has done a great job in blending elements from Staten Island’s interesting history, with modern art trends and interests from around the country, and parents like Frank Camuso feel it’s a wonderful place to bring their children. The Staten Island Museum plays host to some of the most unique and interesting exhibits of any museum in New York City.

One of the newest and most interesting exhibits at the Staten Island Museum is the Remember the Mastodon exhibit, a favorite amongst patrons like Frank Camuso and his wife Christine. During the 18th and 19th century the fossilized bones of the great elephant-like creature, the Mastodon, were found on Staten Island. During that time, the citizens of Staten Island were shocked at how such large bones could even exist. Of course, today with modern dating technology as well as a knowledge of other historical findings, we know that the 10,000-pound Mastodon called Staten Island as well as the other boroughs of New York City home, anywhere from 11,700 to 2.6 million years ago! The rich history of these creatures, and what their daily lives were like, living on Staten Island, is all told as part of the exhibit. Frank Camuso finds it exhilarating to learn that such tremendous creatures could have lived in the same spot you eat your family dinners at, thousands of years ago. Not much is known about how or why the mastodon disappeared, as it has no real predators in the area, and is also a very close (in looks, and behavior) relative to the modern-day elephants. Scientists often attribute their extinction to hunting, climate change, or virus strains of the time. One of the more interesting points made by the exhibit to Frank Camuso was the fact that in understanding what affected the Mastodon and led to its extinction we can better understand our own futures.

The main points of the Remember the Mastodon exhibit touch on extinction and how fleeting life can really be. From 10,000-pound elephants to smallest flowers and fauna, much of the biodiversity on Staten Island undergoes change after change and the turnover of life is extremely high. The exhibit includes a number of sections and is the perfect place for Staten Islanders like Frank Camuso to bring their families and experience the ancient history of Staten Island.