Dinosaurs

Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibition roars into the Science Museum of Minnesota on March 1

Prehistory takes on 21st century technology beginning March 1, when Ultimate Dinosaurs, an exhibition featuring twenty fully-articulated dinosaur specimens from unusual locations in the Southern Hemisphere, opens at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Saint Paul is the exhibition’s third North American stop, and only the second in the United States. Members of the media may preview the exhibition on Friday, February 28 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Prehistoric creatures from the other side of the world meet cutting-edge technology in this large-scale interactive exhibition

Prehistory takes on 21st century technology beginning March 1, when Ultimate Dinosaurs, an exhibition featuring twenty fully-articulated dinosaur specimens from unusual locations in the Southern Hemisphere, opens at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Saint Paul is the exhibition’s third North American stop, and only the second in the United States. Members of the media may preview the exhibition on Friday, February 28 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Based on new, groundbreaking research from scientists around the world (including former Science Museum paleontologist and current Macalester College professor Kristi Curry Rogers), Ultimate Dinosaurs reveals a new breed of dinosaurs that evolved in isolation in South America, Africa and Madagascar – dinosaurs that are unfamiliar to most North Americans. The exhibition seeks to answer the question: why are southern dinosaurs so unique and bizarre, and why are they so different from their North American counterparts?

Ultimate Dinosaurs also features cutting-edge technology experiences that bring the specimens to life like never before.

“This isn’t your typical dinosaur exhibit,” says Mike Day, senior vice president of the Science Museum of Minnesota. “Ultimate Dinosaurs features incredible, rarely-seen specimens and colorful environments combined with new technology to layer virtual experiences over what you see in front of you. They transform from intricately-detailed skeletons to moving, flesh-and-bones animals. It’s a powerful example of how augmented reality can bring history and science to life.”

The exhibition tells the story of the break-up of supercontinent Pangaea into the continents that we know today and the ways that continental drift affected the evolution of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era, 250-65 million years ago. As Pangaea divided first into Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south, and later into the many continents we know today, dinosaurs were passengers on these drifting land masses. Visitors to Ultimate Dinosaurs will discover that an amazing diversity of species evolved as a result of thisphenomenon. Dinosaurs’ imposed geographic location helped promote their evolution into an incredible array of unusual forms that dominated wherever they lived.

Some of the dinosaurs featured in the exhibition include:

Eoraptor, a bipedal dinosaur that lived about 228 million years ago that had two different kinds of teeth – both serrated and flat – indicating that it was an omnivore.

Cryolophosaurus, the first named dinosaur from Antarctica. This animal has a prominent “pompadour” crest across the top of its head.

Massospondylus, a dinosaur from South America that began its life on four legs and then grew to be bipedal in adulthood. The discovery of a series of 190 million year old Massospondylus nests has given scientists the first detailed look at dinosaur reproduction early in their evolutionary history.

Nigersaurus, a huge dinosaur from the Cretaceous period in Africa. Its teeth were concentrated in a row at the front of the jaws, and were worn down and replaced, conveyor belt-style.

Suchomimus, a spinosaur from the Sahara Desert in Niger. This animal was 33 feet long and would have weighed more than 6600 pounds.

Majungosaurus, a theropod from Madagascar. Macalester College professor Ray Rogers (along with former Science Museum paleontologist and current Macalester professor Kristi Curry Rogers and colleagues) did extensive research on this species of dinosaur, determining that, at least some of the time, it demonstrated cannibalistic behavior.

Rapetosaurus, a titanosaur that was named by Curry Rogers and her colleagues in 2001. It is named after the mischievous Malagasy folklore giant, Rapeto. As an adult, Rapetosaurus may have been up to 60 feet long.

Giganotosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur from Gondwana and perhaps the largest land predator ever. Giganotosaurus is similar in size to Laurasia’s more famous Tyrannosaurus rex.

In addition to seeing the specimens, learning more about the adaptations that made them unique and using augmented reality technology to make them come to life, visitors to Ultimate Dinosaurs can expect hands-on activities that will help them explore physical characteristics like crests and frills, stride patterns, and more.

Ultimate Dinosaurs is produced and on loan from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. Curation of the exhibition was led by Dr. David Evans, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology in the ROM’s Department of Natural History.
 

Visitor Information
Ultimate Dinosaurs runs from Saturday, March 1 through Sunday, August 24, 2014 at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Admission is $21 for adults and $12 for kids and seniors (ticket price includes admission to Ultimate Dinosaurs and the Science Museum’s permanent exhibit galleries). Group and school tickets are on sale now; public tickets go on sale Tuesday, February 11 at www.smm.org.

As with past special exhibits, admission to Ultimate Dinosaurs will be timed and dated; visitors will be given the opportunity to choose a specific date and time for their visit when they purchase tickets. For the first time in special exhibit history, though, the museum will introduce family-friendly ticketing. Pending availability, visitors can re-enter the exhibition up to three hours after their ticketed entry time, enabling them to take their time exploring and go back to check up on a dinosaur they might have missed on their first trip through.

Dinosaurs Alive!, a giant screen film that follows preeminent paleontologists as they uncover evidence that the descendants of dinosaurs still walk (or fly) among us, will run in the Omnitheater beginning March 1, 2014. Dinosaurs Alive! features the earliest dinosaurs of the Triassic Period to the monsters of the Cretaceous “reincarnated” life-sized for the Omnitheater’s giant screen, rounding out an unforgettable dinosaur experience for visitors of all ages.

The Science Museum of Minnesota serves hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with its hands-on exhibits, breathtaking giant screen films, special events, and unparalleled education programs. It is located at 120 West Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul. For specific directions, parking information, hours, show times and ticket information, call (651) 221-9444 or visit www.smm.org.