Greenwich Town Hall has been invaded by dinosaurs for the month of November! To add some Mesozoic mania to the area, yesterday we set up a dinosaur-themed display case in Town Hall.
First, we chose our favorite skulls from the Bruce Museum Science collections. These are not real dinosaur skulls; they are casts made from specimens in other institutions. This made our job a lot easier. Real dinosaur bones have been transformed into rock over millions of years. Even our smallest skull would be heavy if made of rock and larger fossil dinosaur skulls can weigh several hundred pounds (they weighed less when the dinosaur was alive). These skull casts were light enough that we had no problem moving them with only two people.
We were given a large space to work with. This Plateosaurus skull is longer than my forearm but looked much smaller when it was the only object in the case. We brought along our own backdrop as well.
It took some time to decide on the perfect placement for the skulls, but we're happy with the final results. Do you recognize any of these skulls?
The large gray skull on the left side of the image is Allosaurus. Allosaurus was a predatory dinosaur. With an average length of around 30 feet long it was on top of the food chain. Based on tooth marks found on Allosaurus bones, scientists think that it may have been cannibalistic. Allosaurus lived between 155 and 150 million years ago.
The orange-brown skull in front of Allosaurus is Plateosaurus. Plateosaurus lived from 214 to 204 million years ago in the Triassic Period. Both Plateosaurus and Allosaurus walked on two legs like a bird, but Plateosaurus was an herbivore. Paleontologists can find out how old a dinosaur was when it died by looking at growth rings in bones. The oldest Plateosaurus discovered was 27 and still growing when it met its end.
The skull in the middle is Diplodocus. Diplodocus was a long-necked sauropod dinosaur and could grow over 100 feet long. This massive size helped it avoid being on the menu of Allosaurus and other predators of the time.
The final skull in the case is Corythosaurus. Corythosaurus was a duck-billed dinosaur that lived in the United States from 77 to 75.7 million years ago. Based on fossilized skin impressions, scientists know that Corythosaurus was covered in a variety of round, polygonal, and shield-like scales.
When they were first discovered, scientists thought that both Corythosaurus and Diplodocus spent a lot of time in the water. Closer investigation of skeletons and preserved tissues show no evidence for this lifestyle, and it is now understood that these dinosaurs lived on the land.
Next time you're in the area, stop on by Town Hall and see the results of our dinosaur invasion!
- Kate Dzikiewicz, Paul Griswold Howes Fellow