Discovery Place Opens Dinosaur Exhibit April 18
What's history? Guests visiting the newest exhibition at Discovery Place in Charlotte will find that everything they knew about dinosaursis history. "Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries" takes guests on a journey into the new prehistoric realm by exploring the most recent findings in dinosaur biology and modern paleontology. The exhibition opens Friday, April 18.
The exhibit shatters old ideas, challenging preconceived notions about these amazing creatures. The exhibition explores how modern discoveries and complex analysis are painting a new picture of dinosaur biology. After wandering through a 700-square-foot, walk-through diorama featuring more than 35 different ancient species, viewing a feathered dinosaur cast, watching a robotic Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) run, touching a real Triceratops horn and exploring interactive computer simulations and animations, visitors will never think of dinosaurs the same way again.
"Science is marvelous because it is ever-changing," said John Mackay, president and CEO of Discovery Place. "It continues to evolve, offering endless opportunities to learn, adapt or challenge our existing beliefs. 'Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries' shows us how new technologies and discoveries can change accepted understandings and ways of thinking."
This eye-opening exhibition focuses on dinosaurs not as fossils but as living creatures and explores how scientists are reinterpreting many persistent and puzzling dinosaur mysteries: what they looked like, how they behaved, how they moved, how they battled, how they bred and why they became extinct.
Guests also learn why paleontologists believe that birds are modern-day dinosaur descendants. The exhibition features newly discovered fossils that reveal the evolutionary link between ancient dinosaurs and modern-day birds including a fossil cast from Sinornithosaur-us millennii that exhibits both downy fluff and primitive feathers and a fossil of the foot of a Coelophysis bauri, which resembles that of a modern-day turkey.
Exhibition highlights include:
- A 60-foot-long model of an Apatosaurus skeleton.
- A full-size, cast skeleton of a T. rex.
- A six-foot-long, robotic, walking T. rex skeleton; 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.
- One of the largest recreations of a prehistoric environment ever built.
- A large wall of mounted dinosaur skulls, ranging from a three-horned Triceratops to the dome-headed Pachyceph-alosaurus, illustrating the latest theories on the purpose of the unusual horns, frill, crests and domes found on many dinosaur skulls.
- A 15-by-10-foot recreation of the famous Davenport Ranch Trackway, a collection of sauropod and theropod dinosaur prints unearthed in Texas in the 1920s and 1940s. Recent analysis of the tracks has revealed new ideas on the herding behavior of these dinosaurs.
- 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.
Families also can test their fossil-finding skills by getting their little ones' hands dirty in the Paleo-Lab. Rotating activities include fossil digging, excavating dino replicas using paleontology tools, creating take-home fossil impressions, joining a hands-on, fossil-footprint hunt and creating a Geo Time Scale to identify the age of fossils. Tickets to the Paleo-Lab are $2 per activity.
Guests can immerse themselves in a time when dinosaurs ruled the roost by completing their colossally cool exhibition experience with "Dinosaurs Alive!," showing in The Charlotte Observer IMAX Dome Theatre. The film features spectacular animation and a live-action story that joins renowned paleontologists from the American Museum of Natural History as they uncover new fossils, including the remarkable discovery of what may be the oldest dinosaur ever found in North America.
The exhibition continues through Sunday, Aug. 17, and is free with museum admission. For more information on pricing or programming, call 704-372-6261, x300 or visit discoveryplace.org.
Discovery Place is located in uptown Charlotte at 301 N. Tryon Street.
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