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NATURE

Existing since the first days of the museum nature department gives information on geography of the Khabarovsk Territory, variety of its mineral resources and diversity of its unique flora and fauna. It has valuable exhibits - nature monuments collected by its workers, scientists and naturalists P.T. Bykov, V.K. Arsenyev, N.A. Desulavy, V.V. Dombrovsky, S.Ya. Sizykh, A.I. Kordakov, G.E. Roslyakov and many others inquisitive and disinterested helpers.

The relief map of the Russian Far East is placed by the entrance tzoom ino the first section. The Khabarovsk Territory is located in the eastern part of the Euro-Asian continent. Namely its location determines natural andclimate peculiarities and components of relief in the Territory. They are mountains, valleys and lowlands, rivers, lakes and seas.

Exhibits of the palaeonthological section are the remains of ancient plants and animals. Thzoom iney narrate the story of evolution at the border of continent and world ocean where the sea and land fossils are neighbours. The skull of Chukotka mammoth is the most noticeable among them. It was presented to the museum by the governor-general of the Priamursky Territory N.L. Gondatti in 1896. The mammoth tusk of the same age found 8 meters deep in the ground within the city of Khabarovsk in 1975 testifies to the fact that those animals inhabited Priamurye 41 thousand years ago.

The unique exhibit of the Khabarovsk Regional Lore Museum is a full skeleton of zoom insea cow of Steller. Russian seamen who took part in the V. Bering expedition saw it for the first time near the Comandor islands in 1741. That animal was 10 metres long with the weight of about 4 tons and fed on seaweeds. After that in about 27 years sea cows were exterminated by hunters for sea animals. That's why the full skeletons of those animals are rare. By the order of the Priamursky governor-general S.M. Dukhovskoy two skeletons were found on the Bering island. They were brought to the museum in 1897 and in 1898. Later one of them was sold to the Paris Natural Historical Museum for these funds to finish the building of the Khabarovsk Regional Lore Museum.

The section "Mineral resources" shows great and various amounts of mineral resources within the area of the Khabarovsk Territory, such as complex ore deposits, soft and hard coals, precious and semi-precious stones. The very rare minerals are druses of quartz, pyrites and other minerals. There is the only meteorite here found within the Khabarovsk Territory called "Khabarovsk" and also fragments of the famous Sikhote-Alyn meteorite which fell down in 1947.

The fauna and flora of the Russian Far East is both unique and varied. Its originality consists first of all in the wonderful combination of northern and southern, subtropical and Siberian species both in the vegetation and animal worlds. There is no other land in the world where the tiger can hunt for the northern reindeer and lianas of Amur zoom inwoodland grape entwine the larch and fir trees. Many ancient species of flora and fauna survived the Ice Age on this territory. For example, our contemporary is the yew tree, the relic of the tertiary period, one of the most ancient conifers on the planet. A 4 metre fragment of the trunk of a 1500 years old yew tree is exposed in the nature department. Some representatives of the aralia family- eleutherococcus and "root of life"-ginseng; from magnolia family-shizandra chinensis; from water-lilies - lotus of Komarov and many others belong by right to the same category- "living fossils".

Within the area of the Khabarovsk Territory one can see about 80 mammal species, 380 species of birds, amphibia and reptiles-8 species of each class. Many of them are shown as taxidermed animals in thezoom in nature department. Among them there are such usual animals in the Territory as wolf, fox, badger, squirrel, river cormorant, long-tailed tawny owl, Amur grass-snake, black spotted frog. There are also animals here written down in the list of rare and extincting species, such as Amur tiger, red wolf, leopard, Amur wild cat, fish owl, golden eagle, black crane, scaly goosander, ibis, Far Eastern leatherback turtle.

The ichthyofauna zoom inof the Amur river, the richest in the country, is formed by more than 100 fish species. The most part of marketable fish is represented in the exposition. A special place is taken by kaluga sturgeon - the biggest freshwater fish in the world. The stuffed kaluga fish arouses invariable interest of visitors. It was caught not far away from Khabarovsk in 1996. It weighed 250 kilograms by the length 3,5 metres. Many specialists did their best to taxiderm that fish. They are Khabarovsk sculptors E.D. Malovinsky, A.A. Ephimov, taxidermist I.D. Chernyshov, Honoured Artist of Russia V.P. Drosdov.

The main natural zones of the Khabarovsk Territory with their inhabitants are displayed in the second section of the nature department. The zoom infigures of the biggest mammals of the Far Eastern forest are reconstructed by the best taxidermists. The diorama "The cedar broad-leafed forest" makes a big impression on visitors. It was made by the artist V.N. Vysotsky in 1939-1941 and reconstructed by V.P. Sysoev in 1964-1966. A moment full of expression is displayed there- the battle of the strongest beasts of prey in the Far Eastern forest - the brown bear and the Amur tiger. To the left of the diorama there is the unique exhibit - a real den of a Himalayan bear in the trunk of the more than 300 years old larch tree made by the bear at the height of 18 metres.

The diorama "Thzoom ine coast of the Okhotsk sea" shows an ecosystem extremely full of life. In the summer months the rocks are the place where a lot of sea birds nest - guillemots, cormorants, pigeon guillemots and tufted puffins. On display one can also see breeding-grounds (rookeries) of many aquatic mammals - sea otters, seals, fur seals.

The exposition of the nature department gives the visitors an opportunity to penetrate into the wonderful world of the Far Eastern nature and to find out some of its secrets.


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