Explorer, broadcaster, living legend and national treasure Sir David Attenborough hit York today.

The naturalist was in town to see a brand new exhibition at the Yorkshire MuseumYorkshire’s Jurassic World.

Sir David toured the new exhibition with York Museums Trust staff. Typically curious, he got hands-on with some of the exhibits.

[arve url=”https://youtu.be/RsvsOEY7lzc” title=”Sir David talks dinos and VR” /]

Sir David meets a dinosaur in the Yorkshire Museum in York. Photograph: Dean Langthorp

Then he came eye-to-eye with an animated dinosaur in front of the waiting media.

Later Sir David answered questions from York schools – four classes won the chance to meet him in a competition run by the trust.

‘Another warning signal’

A lifelong fascination with dinosaurs… Sir David. Photograph: Danny Lawson / PA Wire

Sir David was hugely impressed with the Yorkshire Museum exhibition.

He described the virtual reality experience – where you get to reach up to a dinosaur and feed it a branch – as “tremendous”. People would queue for miles to try it.

He said good museums enrich people’s lives – and “this is a good museum”.

Later he spoke of his worries for the future of our planet.

Sir David said the death of the last male northern white rhino is “another catastrophe and another warning signal”.

The 91-year-old was speaking following the death of Sudan, the 45-year-old last male of his species in Kenya earlier this week.

He said the problems facing those protecting other endangered animals was “huge” as the world was now so crowded.

The naturalist tours the exhibition. Photograph: Danny Lawson / PA Wire
He described the VR technology as ‘tremendous’
The dinosaurs come to life via the headset
Sir David watched by a beaky friend. Photograph: Dean Langthorp

Sir David said: “It’s another catastrophe and another warning signal.

“The last male has gone so that’s another obituary that you have to put down. It’s another extinction which is our doing.”

The naturalist and filmmaker said: “It applies across the animal kingdom. We’ve being going on about the way in which human beings have been exterminating species for a long time.

“And we started doing in the 17th century with the dodo. We exterminated that along with a number of other crimes of that sort which are our responsibility.

“But now the problems are huge, simply because the world is so crowded there’s not the space for things.”

Plastic not so fantastic

Talking to YorkMix. Photographs: Richard McDougall

Talking in Tempest Anderson Hall, Sir David revealed he was “mystified” about why his Blue Planet II programme has had such a worldwide impact on the debate over the use of plastics.

He said: “I’m as mystified as anybody else as to why it’s had that impact. I think it came at a particular moment, when people are concerned and there’s a worldwide concern about what’s happening. And that series just pressed that button.”

Passionate… Sir David makes a point
The scene in the Tempest Anderson Hall
He talked about endangered species and plastics during his visit

The veteran broadcaster said he grew up loving fossils and still found them exciting.

He said: “Going up to a rock and hitting it with a hammer and it falls open and you see the most beautiful, perfect shell that nobody’s seen for for 150 million years – if that isn’t romantic, I don’t know what is.

“Certainly, as a boy I was absolutely fixated with fossils. I collected them and I suppose I learned the rudiments of biology out of viewing fossils.”

Yorkshire’s Jurassic World

Jurassic World hits the Yorkshire Museum

Yorkshire’s Jurassic World will take visitors on an epic journey back through 150 million years of Yorkshire to discover lost giants and the changing worlds they inhabited.

From the depths of the deepest seas to the ancient coasts and tropical shallows; meet the dinosaurs and sea dragons that once roamed our vast and ever-changing landscapes.

The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday (March 24) and is expected to run for the rest of the year.