Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries California Academy of Sciences Dinosaurs - Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries

Exhibit Overview and Highlights

The Dinosaurs exhibit closed February 4, 2007.

Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries is a tantalizing exhibition that shatters many preconceived notions by presenting some of the most recent dino discoveries in the fields of paleontology, biomechanical engineering, and paleobotany.

    Liaoning Diorama
    © AMNH
  • A stunning 60-foot-long model of an Apatosaurus skeleton, based on new drawings produced by DinoMorph software.
  • A full-size cast skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex
  • A robotic six-foot-long mechanical T. rex skeleton walking in place that is the most accurate three-dimensional representation of a dinosaur in motion ever created.  
  • A life-size model of a newly identified primitive tyrannosaur, Dilong paradoxus, covered with branched protofeathers—precursors to the feathers found on living birds. 
  • T. rex simulator
    © AMNH
  • One of the largest re-creations of a prehistoric environment ever built. The 700 square foot diorama is a scientifically accurate representation of life as it was 130 million years ago in one of the most important locations for fossil discovery, the Liaoning Province. There are 463 scientifically accurate, handmade models of animals in the Liaoning Forest diorama, with 24 models of non-avian dinosaurs that will teach visitors about the origins of birds, mammals, feathers, flight, and flowering plants. The display includes 35 different species.
  • A model of a Microraptor gliding between trees with wings on both its arms and its legs.  Discoveries like this provide further compelling evidence that birds are living descendants of theropod dinosaurs.
  • A large “trophy wall” of mounted dinosaur skulls, ranging from the three-horned Triceratops to the dome-headed Pachycephalosaurus, which illustrates the latest theories on the purposes of the unusual horns, frills, crests, and domes found on many dinosaur skulls.
  • Trophy Wall
    © AMNH
  • A 15-by-10-foot re-creation of the famous Davenport Ranch Trackway, a collection of sauropod and theropod dinosaur prints unearthed in Texas in the 1930s and 1940s. Recent analysis of the tracks has revealed new ideas on the herding behavior of these dinosaurs. 
  • A model of the largest Mesozoic mammal yet uncovered, the badger-sized Repenomamus giganticus
  • A newly collected sedimentary slab, which clearly shows a thin layer of iridium. Scientists believe this layer represents the remnants of a massive meteoroid that vaporized upon impact and contributed to the extinction of more than half of all species on Earth.
  • Three large high-definition video screens showing a computer animation of a steel Apatosaurus skeleton that morphs into a realistic fossil skeleton then gradually adds layers of muscle and skin to build a full-fleshed Apatosaurus
Support for this exhibit is generously provided by:

This exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; Houston Museum of Natural Science; The Field Museum, Chicago; and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh.

In San Francisco, the exhibit is made possible by the generous support of The Safeway Foundation and Charles R. Schwab. Additional support is provide by the Charles Schwab Foundation.

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