Dinosaur Discoveries

Dinosaur Discoveries

Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas reveals a vivid picture of what living, breathing dinosaurs were really like. The exhibit explores how current thinking about dinosaur biology has changed over the past two decades and highlights current research by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History and other leading paleontologists around the world.

Using a combination of major fossil finds, captivating computer simulations, and provocative models, Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas introduces a dynamic vision of dinosaurs and the scientists who study them. The exhibit examines, in great detail, recent scientific sleuthing and the array of investigative tools—from bioengineering computer software to CT scans—used by modern scientists to reinterpret many of the most persistent and puzzling mysteries of dinosaurs: what they looked like, how they behaved, and how they moved. It also explores the complex and hotly debated theories of why—or even whether—they became extinct.

The exhibit is divided into several major themes, including:

How Dinosaurs Moved
In this section, biomechanical studies on dinosaur movement spring dramatically to life. Highlights include a video on T. rex depicting how experts in biomechanics and paleontology are teaming up to estimate the typical speed and gait of a rampaging tyrannosaur, a full-size cast skeleton leg of a Tyrannosaurus rex, and a stunning model of an Apatosaurus skeleton neck, whose construction has been based on computer drawings used to investigate the full range of vertebral movements of this huge, long-necked creature. A high-definition video array on the wall directly behind the Apatosaurus neck displays a computer animation of the steel robo-dinosaur skeleton that morphs into a realistic fossil skeleton then gradually adds layers of muscle and skin until a full-fleshed Apatosaurus is moving on the screens.

The Liaoning Forest
This portion of the exhibit includes a diorama depicting a section of a 130-million-year-old forest that existed in what is now Liaoning Province, China. Fossil discoveries from Liaoning have shed light on the origins of birds, mammals, feathers, flight, and flowering plants.

How Dinosaurs Behaved
This section demonstrates how scientists are reinterpreting old fossil evidence using new approaches and new technologies to unlock the secrets of dinosaur behavior. Life-size models and skeleton casts illustrate theories on the purposes of the unusual horns, frills, crests, and domes found on many dinosaur skulls. Were they used for defense, mate recognition, or display? Highlights include a case featuring various skulls, plates, and other armor, twin life-size models of Protoceratops (one skeleton, the other fully fleshed out), and a life-size three-horned Triceratops skull.

In this section, visitors can explore the hard evidence for theories on the possible events that ended the Age of Dinosaurs, including asteroid impact, global climate change, and massive volcanic eruptions, and the descendants of dinosaurs that walk among us today.

Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; The Field Museum, Chicago; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh.

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Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

My 4 year old son loves going to the museum. The exhibits are educational, interactive and kid-friendly.

Beth Deathrage

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