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Mechanics of nature are wonder to behold

How animals survive challenges of life is explored at Denver museum

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Family members of all ages will be fascinated to learn how animals are engineered to survive in our world despite ongoing challenges. “Nature’s Amazing Machines” opened June 16 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and will continue through New Year’s Day of 2018.

Adaptation is considered from the very large (how can a giraffe’s heart pump blood up its long neck to its brain?) to tiny (how can insects fly with no lungs?) to speed (how can a cheetah run so fast?).

The biomechanics of how animals and plants survive and adapt to extremely difficult conditions brings stories and examples from around the world and offers explanations in English and Spanish about their “biological pipes, pumps, insulation, motors and springs,” ability to compete for food, endure extreme temperatures, withstand external pressures such as wind, water and gravity …

Hands-on models and activities will focus on pumping blood, flying, speed, models of animal hearts, adaptation to temperature and more things one wonders about …

An added feature — while they last — is a set of trading cards featuring six different animals from the exhibition, with facts and suggested activities to try at home. There will be a new card each month, which invites return visits. Dr. Garth Spellman, the museum’s curator of ornithology and curatorial advisor for the exhibit, said, “Life on Earth is constantly struggling to counter natural physical forces that are trying to drag us down. The exhibition reveals a myriad of incredible adaptations animals have evolved to combat nature’s assault.”

The exhibit was developed by Chicago’s Field Museum in partnership with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

If you go


The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver. For information about hours and tickets, see dmns.org/NAM or call 303-370-6000.

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