Next week on Saadiyat Island…

Remember back in 1969 when a fiery space rock lit up the skies above an area of Victoria, Australia and ominously slammed into a deserted patch of sandy heath? Well recent studies on that very ‘Murchison meteorite’ have now dated the origins of organic ‘star dust’ compounds within the specimen to over seven billion years ago. Feel old yet?

Probably not, but look apart from being completely inconceivable for our fragile human brains, seven billion years is objectively really very old. It’s older than the age of the earth in fact (around 4.5 billion years old), and the sun (about 4.6 billion) and the entire solar system. And now it’s on its way to Abu Dhabi, though thankfully not at the speed of its initial commute to earth (which would have been anywhere between 11 and 72 km per second, just imagine the E11 fines it would rack up).

The exhibition of this truly ancient universe-puckered spitball is part of a Natural History Museum preview (which isn’t due to open until 2025) exhibition, taking place at Manarat Al Saadiyat between April 6 and May 12 of this year.

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But it’s not alone. The Murchison object will be joining Stan, a mostly complete 39-foot-long, Dhs117 million, 67 million year old Tyrannosaurus-Rex skeleton — a fossilised relic of the notorious Late Cretaceous apex predator. And you might think placing a dinosaur next to an object similar to the one that allegedly wiped them all out ‘is a little close to the bone’. But they have had 66 million years to get over it.

The Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition will offer a glimpse of what to expect from the Natural History Museum when it’s eventually completed, including attractions that show what Abu Dhabi was like seven million years ago, a rich and varied landscape of rivers, savanna grasslands and forests.

Iamges: Getty/Unspalsh