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25 Posts tagged with the dinosaurs tag
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In two days from now, our Age of Dinosaur exhibition opens to the public on Good Friday, 22 April. Just in time for Easter weekend.

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'I'm not hungry' moans Camarasaurus, the first animatronic dinosaur you'll meet in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibition

I peeped into the gallery yesterday to see how the exhibition was coming along. Paul Gallagher, the exhibition's installation manager, is relieved installation is nearing its conclusion. 'Now, the only things left to do are to install the smells and misting machines and complete the final snagging, lighting levels in the two Immersive environments and the showcases. We also need to do some paint touch-ups and set dressing.'

 

As I enter the Jurassic zone, Paul and his team, are busy trying to give Camarasaurus a big bunch of ferns to eat.

 

The enormous lurching head and neck of Camarasaurus is the first encounter that visitors will have with the animatronic dinosaurs in the exhibition. The guys make several attempts to coax the beast, without success. Understandably though, as Camarasaurus is one of the biggest giant plant-munching sauropods and getting close to that mouth looked pretty daunting. From its perch on a rock opposite, Archaeopteryx looks on inquisitively.

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Screech and sqwak: Protoceratops, left, and Oviraptor, right - two of the noisiest animatronic stars of the exhibition's Cretaceous zone. Select all images to enlarge them

Moving on to the Cretaceous zone, I'm startled by the noises of the five animatronic dinosaurs in this desert habitat. The sounds are pretty alarming, particularly the screech of Protoceratops and the Oviraptor's cry. Maybe Protoceratops is afraid that the prowling, feathery Velociraptor, not far away, will steal its eggs...

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Of course, the roar of Tarbosaurus, above - the final animatronic dinosaur and T.rex's terrible twin - is awesome. I'm transfixed to the ground, which trembles from the power of that roar, by the gaping teeth and fearsome jaws as the creature lunges towards me. But drawn to it strangely, and imagine myself riding on top of the giant predator for some reason!  I think it's because you get so close to the dinosaurs in this exhibition, it makes them all the more real.

 

It intrigues me how we know about the different dinosaur noises, so I ask Paul and he says: ''The dino roars actually come  pre-set with the creatures from Kokoro the manufacturer, in Japan. We can’t alter them. But we did develop the Archaeopteryx noise.'

 

Georgina, the exhibition's interpretation manager, tells me the noises are actually educated guesswork really. 'Scientists look at similar types and sizes of animal live today,' she says. 'They compare what these sound like and their hearing ranges and piece it together through that.'

 

Paul Barrett, the Museum's renowned dinosaur researcher confirms this: 'Georgina is spot on. We can deduce hearing ranges in dinosaurs though measuring the size of the part of the inner ear that houses the organ of hearing (the size of this is related to the hearing range). And through looking at body size. Comparisons with closely-related animals, and animals with similar behaviours, flesh this out. For example, we know that the hearing range of Archaeopteryx was very similar to that of an emu, crow or magpie, so we selected crow and magpie calls for the animatronic.'

 

Undeniably, it's the six animatronic dinosaurs and one animatronic dino-bird that are the stars of the show.

 

But there's lots more to discover in this exhibition including rare plant and marine specimens, a huge variety of dinosaur body parts, large-scale graphic timelines, illustrations and scientific research panels. Along with interactive challenges and a CGI film.

 

Have a look at the new Age of Dinosaur exhibition slideshow to see what awaits you

 

There will be more news of the exhibition and a video trailer coming soon, so watch this space.

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Last week on Friday evening, at 6.30pm, three extra special and extra enormous visitors arrived at the Museum.

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A team of 8 people with a forklift truck moved the 1.5 tonnes Tarbosaurus into the Museum. © Oli Scarff/ Getty Images

It took three and a half hours to show our guests into the building - nothing compared to their six-week sea voyage from Tokyo though - after which they were quietly ushered through to the Waterhouse Gallery. Here they will wait in the wings while their new prehistoric home is painstakingly created.

 

The three giants, Camarasaurus, Tarbosaurus and Gallimimus, will be the big stars in Age of the Dinosaur exhibition, opening on Good Friday, 22 April.

 

Paul Gallagher, our exhibition Project Manager, explains: 'We had to rig up a temporary lighting system to help illuminate our transport route into the gallery and also construct a scaffold platform on the front steps of the Museum.'

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'I am really impressed by the skin quality and the realism of the dinosaurs up close,' says exhibition Project Manager, Paul Gallagher after inspecting the 1.5 tonnes Tarbosaurus inside the Museum. © Oli Scarff/ Getty Images

 

Now, the installation work in the Waterhouse Gallery begins. Age of the Dinosaur will take visitors back millions of year into the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras. It will feature six life-size animatronic dinosaurs, one animatronic bird, and about 75 specimens and specimen replicas with hundreds of insect, plant and tree models.

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Workmen manoeuvre the Gallimimus dinosaur model into the Museum. © Oli Scarff/ Getty Images

Next time you see these gargantuan beasts, they will be moving in the rocks, trees and watery places of their ancient world. It will be a very different encounter.

 

Read the news story about the animataronic dinosaurs' journey from Japan and arrival at the Museum

Enjoy more pictures of the animatronic dinosaurs arriving here Select the images to enlarge them. © Oli Scarff/ Getty Images

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Carefully unloading the first dinosaur outside the Museum
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Gallimimus emerges from the rear

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Gallimimus braves the bright lights

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Exhibition project manager Paul Gallagher introduces himself to Tarbosaurus

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Unveiling the head of Camarasaurus
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T. rex roars back

Posted by Rose Aug 4, 2010

Last week I joined the queue to re-visit our famous giant, moving T. rex in the Dinosaurs Gallery. I felt the buzz of excitement and anticipation as we got closer to the pit and the faraway roars got louder. I've visited T. rex many times, but that roar and the mist from the pit just before you turn the corner, always gets me.

 

Re-live the roar in this short clip of T. rex in action

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Visitors arriving now from all over the world to marvel at the Museum's star attraction won't probably know that our T. rex has recently been absent from the Dinosaurs Gallery for about 5 weeks. This disappearance was due to a serious operation involving a hip replacement, major cosmetic surgery, and some much-needed pit improvements. Well, poor T. rex is after all, about 65 million years old and it's a challenging job frightening Museum visitors day after day.

 

Perhaps it was my imagination, but as I walked past the noticeably swampier-looking pit, I thought I saw a twinkle in those small, ferocious eyes. I'm sure T. rex is glad to be back in business. (In our busiest weeks T.rex can attract up to 50,000 visitors a week.)

 

It was engineers Steve Suttle and Martin Kirkby who carried out the highly skilled replacement of T. rex's strained hip joint parts and neck. These T.rex bits had got very worn through, so the new joints and parts mean smoother motion, all the better to scare us with. Technician Rob Lewenstien did the careful cosmetic surgery on the silicone skin to smooth over cuts.

 

There was also major scenic work done on T. rex's pit by our Display and Conservation team, led by Claire Kelly. The team re-painted and re-defined the ground and water area in the pit and also re-worked the carcass which T. rex sniffs around. Extra foliage, tree stumps and plant stems have been added to get a more authentic swampy habitat. The picture below shows work in progress.

 

Finishing touches came from the Museum's SFX and Media Tech teams who have improved the lighting and the ambient soundtrack to better show off the pit and create a more atmospheric and dramatic display.

 

t.rex-Jesmonite-around-carcass.jpg'The project showed off the wide range of skills in the Museum's in-house production teams,' enthused programme manager, Nick Sainton-Clark, 'and the engineering work was extensive but successful, so we shouldn't have to have this kind of closure for the foreseeable future.'

 

Enjoy the Dinosaur Gallery highlights in our slideshow

 

Learn about Dinosaurs on our website

 

Explore our Dino Directory

 

 

 

Click on the images to enlarge them.

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We have the next Night Safari event coming up on Monday night, 10 May, starting at 6.30pm.

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Paul Barrett, our dinosaur specialist, leading the first Night Safari visitors through the torchlit Dinosaurs gallery

At our first Night Safari event in March, the feedback was fantastic. Everyone raved about it, describing it as a 'magical' night, 'one in a million' and 'you guys and girls rock!'

 

What most people loved was the chance to enjoy a more exclusive experience of the Museum in small groups, and with a relaxed and personal touch.

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Monday's rare treats include getting up close to meteorites, spiders, a mummified cat and two-headed sheep skull (!) and of course, the dinosaurs by torchlight. The torchlit Dinosaurs gallery tour was a late addition to the March event, and is back again.

 

Visitors will meet some of the scientists from the recent BBC Two Museum of Life documentary and hear about their favourite specimens, including admiring the Central Hall's magnicient ceiling decorations with botanist, Sandy Knapp.

 

As before, the tours starts around 7ish and groups are taken around the Central Hall to hotspots where they'll meet scientists, specimens and exhibits, and shadowy dinosaurs. With a 30-minute break in between to enjoy the bar... and bellinis.

 

There's also time after the tour to chat with the scientists at the bar before the doors close at 10.30pm.

Book tickets online.

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April fools and Easter treats

Posted by Rose Mar 31, 2010

As far as we’re aware there weren't any April Fool’s Day pranks at the Museum today, but we are holding a fun Nature Live event at 14.30 about Fossils, Freaks or Frauds? Come along and join our Museum experts and try being a scientist yourself. You can help identify fossils and decide if they’re real or frauds.

 

Actually it’s not always easy for even the best palaeontologists to spot hoaxes, as history proves. Remember the Piltdown Man? This great story of the fake skull that fooled scientists as the 'missing link' between apes and early humans, was told in last week’s episode of the BBC documentary Museum of Life. If you want to know more, have a look at our Piltddown Man website.

 

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The 1st of April is also worth celebrating because if marks the opening of our Wildlife Garden, shown left, which has been closed over winter.

 

Recent news from our wildlife gardeners is that although the garden’s rabbit has not been seen lately, there have been sightings of fresh droppings on the newly-laid meadow turf, so maybe there’ll be a special appearance for Easter. While the garden’s daffodils are fading, primroses, cowslips, violets and bluebells (just) can now be seen. Long tailed tits, a heron, jay, and nesting blue tits have been spotted alongside our usual feathery friends. The frogs and toads exhausted themselves with a frantic 3 days of mating in the sunshine last week. And there's still frog and toad spawn visible. Oh and the fox is about.

 

There are events coming up in the next 2 weeks in the Wildlife Garden including our first lunchtime recording plants session on 7 April, and Yellow Book Day on 11 April with a felt bird sculpture installation by Anne Belgrave. Browse our Wildlife Garden website for details.

 

Easter events at the Museum

Over the Easter weekend we have some special free talks in our Attenborough Studio which run at 12.30 and 14.30 each day.

 

On Good Friday, find out about the original Easter islands and their famous giant statues, the Moai, pictured below.easter-island.jpg

 

On Easter Saturday, we've got the Egg-stinct: Fossilised Eggs From Prehistoric Times talk where you'll discover about the eggs from dinosaurs and other extraordinary creatures.

 

And in our Easter Sunday special, we take a closer look at the biology of the egg in The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe talk.

 

When you're in the Museum, remember to catch our amazing egg display in the Bird gallery.

 

Arrive early if you are planning a trip here, as we do anticipate queues over the Easter school holidays.

 

Have an eggs-cellent Easter.

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We can’t reveal much about what’s featured in tonight’s episode of the Museum of Life documentary on BBC Two. But 'Digging up the Past' is a real bone-crunching, skull-duggering instalment. It’s on at 8pm. So don’t miss it

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Get behind the scenes of our famous Dinosaurs gallery in tonight's episode of the Museum of Life

Having just seen a sneak preview of tonight's episode, I can’t wait to see it properly on the telly tonight and imagine the faces of young and old when the king of monsters, Tyrannosaurus rex, makes more than one appearance.

 

Presenter, Jimmy Doherty and the team explore the discovery of a new dinosaur, the latest thinking on the personality of T. Rex, and what scientists are learning from a human skull over a hundred thousand years old.

 

Once again, during the episode tonight we will be tweeting and to get the latest information live, make sure you are following us on Twitter at Natural History Museum on twitter. Watch out for our Museum of Life competition, some of the questions are being previewed tonight on Twitter.

 

Tell us what you think of tonight’s episode, or last week's, on our online Museum of Life discussion forum. You can also post questions here for some of the scientists taking part.

 

From tomorrow you can find out lots more about episode 2 on our Museum of Life website.

 

If you're enjoying the series, why not come to the Museum and actually meet some of the Museum scientists in the flesh at our free talks. Watch the last episode on the big screen in our Attenborough Studio, or see some of the iconic specimens featured in the galleries. There are details on our Museum of Life for visitors webpage.

 

Have a look at our Dinosaurs slideshow on our website for some of the highlights to enjoy in the gallery.

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We've had BBC TV crews here for over a year now, filming behind the scenes and interviewing our scientists and curators. Finally, the wonderful Museum of Life series will start next week on Thursday 18 March at 8pm on BBC Two.

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Museum of Life presenters in the Museum's Central Hall, left to right: Kate Bellingham, Chris van Tulleken, Jimmy Doherty, Mark Carwardine and Liz Bonnin

The BBC's website describes the Museum of Life documentary as 'a story of mysteries, dinosaurs, diamonds and audacious attempts to hold back extinction'. Viewers will get a real insight into some of the work our scientists do at this much-loved institution, as well as hear the stories of our most amazing natural history specimens.

 

Jimmy Doherty, from BBC's Jimmy's Farm, hosts the new series. In his youth, Jimmy was a volunteer here at the Museum and he is obviously thrilled to be involved in it. On Saturday Kitchen last weekend, he revealed what 'a corker' the new series is going to be and described it as 'full of jaw-dropping moments'.

 

We've just posted a video trailer on the Museum of Life website where you'll find lots more information about the series.

 

After each episode we'll also be running an online discussion forum here on NaturePlus for viewers to post questions to some of the Museum scientists featured in each episode. So watch this space for details.

 

Also during each episode we will be tweeting and to get the latest information live, make sure you are following us on Twitter at Natural History Museum on twitter.

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As an aside, a great news story has just come out today about how the filming of the Museum of Life series helped to solve the 120-year-old mystery of a gunned-down African goliath beetle specimen in our collection...

 

Read the news article about Who shot Goliath? Natural history mysteries revealed in new TV series.

 

Click to enlarge this x-ray image of the bird-sized goliath beetle, Goliathus goliatus, showing shotgun wounds.

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Museum treasures will be revealed on the exclusive new Night Safari tour

When we announced the first Dino Snores sleepover event in January this year, many adults were understandably miffed that the only way you could join in was if you accompanied a group of children. (After all, it is a children’s event.)

 

But now there’s something new and exotic for adults and it’s called Night Safari. The first safari will take place on 8 March. Expect all the adventure and atmosphere of a real wildlife safari, but here in the comfort and splendour of our iconic Central Hall, not to mention a bar.

 

Night safaris won’t be all-nighters, they’ll start around 6.30pm and end at 10.30pm, and they promise some rare treats.

 

On arrival at the Museum, there will be an introductory talk and safari visitors can enjoy the bar before the tours start (drinks can’t be taken on the tours for obvious reasons). Groups of 25 visitors will then join our Night Safari guides for their tours around 7ish, starting at different points in Central Hall.

 

Tour groups will explore both the Central Hall ground floor, featuring a stop at Dippy, our famous Diplodocus skeleton (below), and the upper galleries, including Minerals, the Vault and the giant sequoia tree trunk at the very top of the balconies.

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On the tour, visitors will meet some of our leading scientists and researchers who’ll reveal and discuss their favourite, treasured specimens. Some of these ‘top five’ specimens are usually kept in our collections behind the scenes, so this is a really unique opportunity to get close to something extraordinary, with the expert on it at hand.

 

I’m told that at the March safari, one of the scientists' chosen specimens will be an awesome set of great white shark jaws and skin - presented by our well-known and respected fish curator, Ollie Crimmen.

 

To ease off the safari heat, there’s a 30-minute break in the middle of the tour. Tours finish around 9.45pm, so enough time for a last drink and chat before heading out from the Central Hall wildlife at 10.30, when the doors close.

 

If our Night Safaris are anything like the Dino Snores events, they are likely to sell out quickly, so book tickets online early. Night Safaris are planned for every 2 months on a Monday night and the next ones are confirmed for 10 May and 12 July.

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Dinosaurs by torch light

It was bound to be a success of course. Torch-lit tour of the Dinosaurs gallery, sleeping in Central Hall next to Dippy (our famous diplodocus skeleton), a bugs’ talk and the new Sony PlayStation game to try out. A child’s dream, come true.

 

The first Dino Snores in association with Sony PlayStation was a sell-out, pretty much as soon as it was announced before Christmas, and attracted lots of media attention. On Saturday 16 January, about 200 over-excited kids descended on the Museum to experience a real Night at the Museum, and find out exactly what goes on when the dinosaurs should be getting their shut-eye.

 

dino-snores-boy-costume.jpgLIke the boy pictured left, who really got into the dino spirit, Mack Pegram, aged 9, was one of the lucky children there, he loved it:

 

"It was very very very very very very very very fun! And brilliant because there were lots of fun activities to do and I liked sleeping in the Central Hall because you can look up and see the diplodocus. My favourite activity was the Bugs Bite Back because they talked about loads of cool bugs that were poisonous and venomous. I definitely would like to go again."

 

And did Dippy, the 26-metre-long diplodocus skeleton, twitch at all as the children slept alongside, I wondered?

 

Event organiser, Terry Lester, filled me in on the spooky stuff: "Three of us, Matt, Beth and me stayed awake the whole night and kept an eye on Central Hall while everyone was sleeping. At around 3.30am I was looking towards Dinosaur Way and saw a shadowy figure run from the Dinosaur gallery entrance across into Human Biology. We knew it wasn’t anyone from Central Hall, so Matt and I grabbed our torches and in our socks (shoes were removed beforehand so as not to wake the sleeping hoards) and dashed to investigate. Slightly spooked we searched the darkened galleries, but to no avail. Not a soul to be seen (well, not a living one anyhow). We checked with the Control Room and as agreed, they had not been patrolling the ground floor of the Waterhouse building. Figment of a sleep-deprived mind or something more other-worldly?"

 

Ooooh, weird...

 

The whole occasion was filled with memorable highlights, as Terry describes:


dino-snores-central-hall.jpg"Seeing the kids entering the museum with such evident excitement (parents sporting resigned looks on their faces), hearing the cheers during the welcome talk, the friendly rivalry between the groups, the screams (of excitement, not terror) from the Dinosaur Gallery during the torch lit trails and the clapping as the lights went out in Central Hall at bedtime were just a few of them.

 

"Erica McAlister and TV host Nick Baker, who did a talk about bugs - had never met before doing their show, Revenge of the Mini Beasts, but you’d never have thought it seeing them in action, they looked like they’d been working together for years. Couldn’t quite see which one was the side-kick, but I think Erica came off marginally as the one in charge."

 

"The kids' favourites were the stories about the aggressiveness of killer bees, scorpions and caterpillars," recalls Erica, "specimens of which Nick happened to have hidden in his sleeping bag!"

 

The next Dino Snores is on 13 February and there are more to come. Adults, don't despair, you can get in free accompanied by 5-6 children, but stay close, because dinsoaurs and bugs are about...

 

Read the news story about the first Dino Snores. See what Erica McAlister who presented the bugs show has to say in her blog post.

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Sleeping with dinosaurs

Posted by Rose Dec 11, 2009

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Zzzzz or Roarrr?

One of the Museum's most exciting events for children starts in January when our  monthly Saturday sleepovers are launched.

 

We adults are jealous, because you have to be 8 – 11 years old to attend, although an adult needs to accompany each group of children, so you can go along as a group leader and get in free. But you have to be responsible!


The first Dino Snores sleepover is on Saturday 16 January 2010 and is in association with Sony PlayStation who are giving kids the chance to try out their new game, which I'm told is fantastic.

 

Fun activities at your exclusive night at the Museum will also include a torch-lit tour of some of the galleries including Dinosaurs, a live show from TV presenter and naturalist Nick Baker and our own Museum insect expert, with art and crafty things to do too.


But the real fun will be finding out what really happens after dark in the Museum as you bed down in the shadow of our famous Diplodocus skeleton as midnight beckons…

 

Dino Snores sleepovers are planned for the middle of every month, so if you can’t make the first, there will be more to come.

 

Read our Dino Snores helpful questions and answers to find out more.

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