By Charly SHELTON
The dinos are back. After six years, they are finally back. For a paleontologist who will specialize in Mesozoic fossils, this is heaven. The new exhibit is in a different wing of the Natural History Museum and it is an amazing exhibit.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has one of the best collections of dinosaur and Mesozoic fossils in America. In the ’60s and ’70s, the museum really pushed expeditions to collect the best fossils the world had to offer. But for the last six years, these have been mostly locked away in a closed off part of the museum, the 1913 building. It was closed in 2005 for seismic retrofitting and renovations. They tried to give the public something of a dino exhibit with Thomas, the T. Rex walkthrough lab experience, but it just wasn’t the same.
Then last Saturday, they reopened the dinosaur exhibit in two huge, 14,000-square-foot, two-story, well lit galleries in the original 1913 building showcasing, among many other fossils, the only T. Rex growth series exhibit in the world. They have mounted the youngest T. Rex in existence, a rare juvenile and a young adult to show how the Tyrannosaurus grew up.
This is the only exhibit that shows this progression in person. And with over 300 fossils and 20 complete mounts of skeletons, there is something for everyone.
Whether it’s the new Triceratops skeleton, the imposing 68-foot-long Sauropod (long neck dino) Mamenchisaurus, the terrifying predator Allosaurus, the Stegosaurus with plates along its back, or even the Carnosaur, the predator with horns for eyebrows that was the villain in Disney’s “Dinosaur” movie and the Walt Disney World attraction, there is a dinosaur here for everyone.
Personally, this reporter’s favorite exhibit was the Corythosaurus. The T. Rex is the coolest dinosaur that ever was and that part was really astounding. But the Corythosaurus was a complete skeleton in its sediment, mounted on the wall. And next to that display, there was a demonstration of the resonation chamber that Hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs with huge crests on their heads) like the Parasaurolophus and Corythosaurus had (Parasaurolophus has a long curved crest coming off its head. It is featured in the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios when he pops out of the water just before the boat heads into the Velociraptor area. Corythosaurus also has a crest, but it looks like Elvis hair). What it demonstrates is that the huge crest found on top of their heads could possibly have been used as a resonation chamber to make sounds to ward off predators or a warn others of their herd. The huge crest is hollow and when air was directed through it, it produced different sounds.
Scientists have taken a cast of this hollow area and reproduced it so that we can hear the sounds of a dinosaur. Not the Hollywood-made roars that are actually a distorted baby elephant sound, but the real sound that echoed through the forests of Mesozoic America. This could be heard all through the exhibit and really helps set the tone for the whole experience.
This exhibit is definitely something to go see. Even if you don’t like museums or learning, it is good to go anyway. A little learning is always good. The Xbox will be there when you get back.
Get out of the house and enjoy what is left of the summer by spending it at the museum to see their new dinosaur exhibit now open at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.
I give this exhibit 5 out of 5 crests.