Tempos and Rhytms

From 02 October 2014 to 08 March 2015, the Estonian Museum of Natural History presents the exhibition „Tempos and Ruthms: From heartbeat to cosmic cycles“.

„Rhythmicity occurs literally everywhere: in the movement of the Earth, the Sun and the stars, in the tides of the ocean, in the breaking of waves, in the gusts of wind and rolls of thunder, in the shudder of leaves and sway of branches, in the flutter of flags, in the dance of whirlwinds, in the murmur of waterfalls and babble of streams. We can find rhythmicity everywhere, everywhere on Earth and in the skies.” Nikolai Pärn „Rhythm, Life and Creation” 1978

Many processes in and around us follow a certain rhythm or pattern of repetition. The pace or tempo of the processes varies greatly both in the living and inanimate nature. The heart of the least shrew, the smallest mammal in Estonia, is already making its hundredth beat by the time a single bang has sounded in the chest of the blue whale; a snail covers a distance as short as a basketball court over its lifetime, while the yearly migration distance of the Arctic tern is comparable to the Earth’s circumference; one year on Earth equals with just one month on Jupiter – these comparisons are just a few in this multi-layered world of rhythms and tempos.


Rhythm helps living organisms act in harmony with one another and the surroundings. The inner world of each individual creature is kept in balance by rhythmic phenomena. The internal rhythms, in turn, are triggered by external ones. Thus, we can find rhythms both in microscopic intracellular processes and in cosmic cycles. The surrounding nature has a rhythmic influence on living organisms from day to day and year to year over their entire lifetime.

This exhibition has been compiled to introduce the multi-layered and diverse world of nature’s rhythms and tempos. It offers the visitors some pieces of the mosaic of tempos and rhythms in living and inanimate nature