In May 2016, I received news that the diorama of human evolution at Ankara's MTA Natural History Museum had been removed by conservative authorities. I had visited the museum numerous times, the last in 2011, when I had photographed its quirky human evolution diorama and associated exhibits.
Below is a brief selection of photographs from my previous visits to the MTA Museum.
The Neanderthal diorama seemed to have started out as a relief, and somehow turned into a half-sculpture as the work progressed.
One of the notable specimens in the evolution exhibit was this warped skull of an early hominin. Both this skull and the half-relief Neanderthal were photographed in 2011 - they were no longer on display at the time I wrote this post.
Aside from the evolution diorama, the museum also housed a sizeable collection of minerals, marine fossils, prehistoric mammals and (imported and outdated) dinosaur skeletons, as well as some awfully taxidermied animals from the present-day fauna of Turkey.
An awful-looking Anatolian leopard, Panthera pardus tulliana.
A shrivelled assortment of Turkish snakes and lizards.
A great eagle owl, Bubo bubo.
Two other, ruffled-looking owls which I could not identify.
Various dried fish.
A horrid-looking ground squirrel, Spermophilus sp. (right), and a completely unidentifiable animal (left), looking like caricatures of people under the influence of heavy drugs.
A sea turtle, Caretta caretta, pretending to lay eggs among a diorama of sand, seashells and shattered, bone-dry crabs. The fake stock-image horizon and the ugly surroundings reminded me of a nuclear apocalypse. This was by far the most depressing animal diorama in the museum.
Finally, flamingos, Phoenicopterus roseus; and other waterbirds.
This concluded my brief tour of the museum. I was saddened to see the evolution diorama go, but one can still visit the MTA museum to see the other specimens.
PS: I also accessed an old documentary of the museum, you can view it below: