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Press release

The dinosaurs came in two by two

On Friday 21 April, after school children and families have gone home, the Natural History Museum will welcome some mysterious visitors through its doors.

Ten of the most lifelike and spectacular new animatronic dinosaurs ever created will arrive after-hours through the Museum's vast front doors. They will form part of a new family blockbuster exhibition Dino Jaws, which will be one of London's top attractions this summer. The dinosaurs, which have travelled by sea from Japan, include Britain's very own Baryonyx and a pack of Velociraptor .

Dino Jaws opens on 30 June and will introduce visitors to the fascinating, and sometimes disgusting, subject of dinosaurs and their food. Bringing together intriguing fossil evidence, fun hands-on exhibits, scientific insights and the most realistic animatronics you have ever seen, it will reveal everything scientists now know about what and how dinosaurs ate. 

Stepping back in time, visitors will find themselves walking into a feeding frenzy of hungry dinosaurs, from the infamous flesh-eating T. rex to the plant-munching Euoplocephalus .

Baryonyx, at nearly nine metres long and with a frightening 96 serrated teeth, will use its huge 30-centimetre-long front claw to try and scoop a fish from the water. Visitors will also encounter the plant-eating Iguanodon as it grasps at food with its flexible fifth finger. Other highlights will include a pack of Velociraptor devouring the carcass of a baby Protoceratops. Visitors will witness the full force of these feathered killers, with their grasping hands, climbing claws and teeth for ripping flesh. The deadly Coelophysis may be too frightening for some visitors. Fossil evidence suggests this dinosaur ate the young of its own species. Those brave enough to look are invited to examine the evidence supporting this unusual feeding behaviour.

Dino Jaws will also be home to three dramatic life-sized animatronic dinosaur heads. These moving models of Tyrannosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Edmontosaurus show the basic anatomical differences between meat-eaters and plant-eaters. One side of each head is fleshed-out, the other bare bone to show how the teeth and jaws moved together to tear, slash, grind and chew their food.

The Museum's engineers now have the awesome task of fitting these models together into dramatic scenes and fine-tuning the programming to make them even more realistic in movement and sound. Each animatronic will run off compressed air with a computer inside using the latest servo animatronic technology to create the most fluid and realistic moving dinosaurs seen since their extinction.

John Phillips, Senior Mechanical Engineer at the Natural History Museum commented, 'These are the most impressive dinosaurs I've ever had the chance to work with in the 30 years I've been at the Museum. Since we received our first animatronics from Japan in 1991, both science and engineering have progressed to create such lifelike dinosaurs, they can now do almost everything but walk!'

Visitor information:
Dates: 30 June 2006 - 15 April 2007
Booking (from 21 April): www.nhm.ac.uk/dino-jaws or 0870 013 0731
Admission:  £8, £5 concessions, free for children aged three and under, £21 family (up to five, minimum one adult, maximum two)
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000
Website:        www.nhm.ac.uk/dino-jaws

Photocall:
A photocall is taking place at 19.00 at the Natural History Museum Cromwell Road entrance.

For more information, please contact:
Tel: 020 7942 5654 email: press@nhm.ac.uk

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.