T. rex makes a dramatic return to the Natural History Museum this March with the arrival of a new animatronic model. Unlike previous models, this one uses its ‘senses’ to spot prey – including unsuspecting visitors. As the Museum’s most realistic dinosaur to date, it’s expected this giant, two-legged meat-eater will be one of London’s top attractions for families this year.
Visitors to the Dinosaurs gallery will find a misty, swamp-like landscape populated by some of the plants and animals that lived more than 65 million years ago. At the heart of this atmospheric Cretaceous scene, T. rex picks at a decomposing carcass, but is on the lookout for something more satisfying.
‘This T. rex is our fiercest and smartest yet,’ says Dr Angela Milner, dinosaur expert at the Natural History Museum. ‘It can even sense when people are near, so be on your guard. Using the most up-to-date scientific knowledge of the way T. rex looked, behaved and used its senses, plus cutting-edge animatronic technology, we have created a terrifyingly life-like beast.’
This year also marks the centenary of the naming and describing of Tyrannosaurus rex, which means ‘king tyrant lizard’. The fossilised lower jaw of the first T. rex ever discovered will be brought out from the Museum’s research collection and put on display in the Dinosaurs gallery so visitors can examine T. rex teeth, which measure a staggering fifteen centimetres.
The Natural History Museum’s Dinosaurs gallery is its most popular permanent exhibition. The gallery’s current animatronic display Danger in the Dunes, which T. rex will replace, has delighted visitors with its eerie representation of Velociraptor preying on an unsuspecting family of Oviraptor. The previous animatronic T. rex in the Dinosaurs gallery, which arrived in 2001, attracted 42,000 visitors in its first week.
The Natural History Museum worked with Tokyo-based animatronic company Kokoro Dreams to produce this new T. rex. The Museum and Kokoro have worked together to create all the Museum’s animatronic models for the past 15 years.
Notes for editors
Winner of the 2004 Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award, the Natural History Museum is also a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with groundbreaking projects in 68 countries. The Museum is committed to encouraging public engagement with science. This has been greatly enhanced by the Darwin Centre, a major new initiative, which offers visitors unique access behind the scenes of the Museum. Phase One of the project opened to the public in 2002 and Phase Two is scheduled to open in 2008.
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Issued January 2005