Currently on display in Jerusalem, the Netanyahu Paleontological Exhibition comprises 61 fossils from Israel’s distant past, reassembled with some intriguing deviations from standard bio-geological praxis and one or two highly dubious classifications.
Unfortunately, the Netanyahu collection lacks the usual exhibition notes that would make if a lot more accessible to the layman. Here, in the absence of formal notes, is a quick overview.
Since 1977 (the start of the Begin Epoch,) virtually every paleontological exhibition in Israel has been distinguished by a fly-by-night centrist organism, with the unique qualities of appearing suddenly, doing absolutely nothing and then disappearing just as suddenly. That role is played by the relatively recent (in paleontological terms) Kulanu in the new exhibition.
Kulanu is a simple but multi-celled organism, with only three of its estimated 10 cells having been identified so far – Kahlon, Galant and Oren. Other than having clear indications that the other cells exist, scientists are still in the dark as to their functions.
Like all such organisms – Dash, the Lipkin-Shahak protozoan, Kadima and Yesh Atid, to mention just a few – the role of Kulanu in the biosphere is to express copious amounts of the element Hope, which keeps the other organisms in the environment in a state of biological inertia. However, it’s contribution to overall evolution is nil.
The Arye Dery fossil is well-known from previous exhibitions and its inclusion in the new collection is controversial. Dery spans several epochs and was thought to have reached extinction in the year 2000, after mutating uncontrollably. Its reappearance, which not all scientists believe to be valid, is attributed to both the hardiness of the organism itself and the receptiveness of the environment in which it breeds.
Dery is a parasite that feeds on the element Money. It is therefore expected to metastasize rapidly in the current Netanyahu epoch and to divert vast sums of Money to its own ecosystem. It is believed to be a multi-cell organism in the Shas sub-genre, but its other constituents have never been identified or named.
The oldest fossil in the collection is the UTJ, which is in fact a mutation of the venerable Agudat Yisrael organism, dating back to the very beginning of time. UTJ is unique in that, unlike virtually every other organism, it has never evolved and never interacted with other organisms in its environment. The current exhibition is therefore a remarkable opportunity to see a simple life form in its original state.
The UTJ survives in an entirely self-contained eco-system with its own forms and structures. Like the Dery, however, it is reliant on the wider environment for the element Money, which it uses to nourish its offspring in an autarchic mollusk state.
The consensus in the scientific community is that the Netanyahu environment will be particularly amenable for the UTJ, relieving the evolutionary pressures imposed by the environment in recent epochs and reversing previous environmental impacts.
The Bennett fossil, of the Habayit Hayehudi genus, is another mutated organism originating from the earlier NRP species, now extinct. It is regarded as a particularly virulent life form, with a highly developed capacity for extending its habitat into the habitats occupied by other organisms. Its scientific classification is Settlementus Illegalis.
Of particular note is the Shaked fungus, which is of relatively recent taxonomy though its roots date back to some of the most primitive organisms known to science. In a dramatic departure from accepted practice, the exhibition has classified the Shaked in the Justica phylum, meaning it is capable of juridical prudence. That classification has already raised hackles in the scientific community.
The final group of fossils belongs to the Likud family, which has dominated local paleontology since the Begin Epoch. Most of these organisms have been exhibited before and are well-known to the general public. The exhibition, unfortunately, does not break any new ground in this regard.
The Likud are known as relatively unsophisticated bottom-feeders, characterized by an unusually keen sense of populism. That enables them to flourish – and indeed dominate – in a semi-evolved environment inhabited by other malevolent organisms, in particular the Obama.
The Likud live off Holocaust, an element that they both imbibe and excrete, leading to a closed and self-fulfilling feeding cycle. While geochemical observation has enabled science to identify the source of Holocaust, its longevity and evolution across the epochs are still the subject of intensive research.
The major lacuna of the exhibition is the absence of the Erdan organism, which most scientists have recognized as one of the most paleontologically distinct in the Likud genus. The Netanyahu exhibition has not explained the absence of the Erdan, though rumor has it that it was a consequence of sharp disagreements between the curators.
All in all, the Netanyahu Exhibition provides a fascinating glimpse of early forms of Israeli life, though most of the specimens have been seen before. With only 61 fossils on display, however, and only the Kulanu fossils being displayed for the first time, it’s unlikely that the exhibition will have a particularly long run.