Natural History Museum 'Treasures'

By Farah Nayeri - 2012-11-28T19:41:18Z

Natural History Museum via Bloomberg

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Dodo Bird Skeleton

A page of the world's most expensive printed book, a lump of moon rock and a 147-million-year-old bird are starring in a new gallery at London's Natural History Museum.

The chapel-like "Treasures" room opens on Nov. 30. It features 22 highlights from the collections of the museum, which houses more than 70 million specimens in total.

The book sheet comes from a first edition of John James Audubon's "The Birds of America," a copy of which sold for $11.5 million in 2010 at Sotheby's in London. This was the highest price paid at auction for a printed book.

The moon rock, said by scientists to be about 3.7 billion years old, was given by U.S. President Richard Nixon to Britain in 1973 after the last manned moon mission.

The gallery also documents the damage that mankind has done to nature. Standing in a corner window is a stuffed specimen of the great auk, a penguin-like bird became extinct in the 1850s.

Left, a skeleton of the Dodo bird, reconstructed with 1,000-year-old bones. The species was extinguished by mankind, and which was famously referred to in "Alice in Wonderland."

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