IOM3 (HK) Guided Tour “Hong Kong’s Living Fossils”

Hong Kong Branch
29 Nov 2018

On 6 October 2018, a Guided Tour “Hong Kong’s Living Fossils” jointly organised by the IOM3 Hong Kong Branch and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) was held. About twelve engineers and their families attended this event. The event was held at the Stephen Hui Geological Museum, on the campus of HKU. The museum is part of the Department of Earth Sciences at the university and was established with the generous donation of the late Dr Stephen Sze Fun Hui, a mining engineer, geologist, scholar and philanthropist. 

The guide of this special exhibition, Dr Petra Bach is a lecturer at HKU and the Curator of the Stephen Hui Geological Museum. Dr Bach guided our group in a tour of the museum on the topic of “Hong Kong’s Living Fossils--the evolution of horseshoe crabs.” The special exhibition showcased horseshoe crab as a living fossil that has remained the same after millions of years, as seen from their body structure that appears identical to the present mangrove horseshoe crab from Hong Kong. As such, this species local to Hong Kong and several other areas worldwide is one of the few living creatures that can be called a “living fossil.” The oldest horseshoe crab found is as old as 475 million years. It was fascinating to learn about the body part functions and lifestyle of horseshoe crabs which have helped them to successfully cope with environmental changes for hundreds of millions of years.

The tour started from the ground floor of the museum, where Dr Bach guided participants through this special exhibition embedded into the existing museum exhibition of the Dynamic Earth and Earth Evolution, showing the structure of horseshoe crabs, the life cycle of a horseshoe crab, their habitats, their important contributions to our lives, current threats to their survival in Hong Kong, and conservation initiatives in Hong Kong. She explained that with human activities such as coastal development, clam digging and fishing, horseshoe crabs who live on Hong Kong’s intertidal shores will face the threat of extinction in Hong Kong. There was also the opportunity to observe up-close live juvenile horseshoe crabs who live in a tank in the museum. 

After the one-hour guided tour, Dr Bach opened up the opportunity for questions and let the participants explore the museum according to their individual interests. Participants had the opportunity to further talk to Dr Bach individually if they had specific questions about the exhibition. 

Through an increased understanding of horseshoe crabs, participants have gained more awareness of the need to protect this endangered species and join in the promotion of conservation efforts of this often unnoticed organism in Hong Kong. On behalf of IOM3, we would express our sincere thanks to Dr. Petra Bach for offering our member her professional tour and Dr. Louis Wong for organizing this fruitful family event.

 Dr Bach guided participants through this special exhibition


 Dr Bach guided participants through this special exhibition


 Thank you Dr. Petra Bach and Dr. Louis Wong for organizing this fruitful family event to IOM3(HK).