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BOURNEMOUTH DINOSAUR SAFARI...



Never mind mass extinctions, my file disaster was the biggest catastrophe I
would think of contending with. The plan was to post a review of the Bournemouth
Dinosaur Safari. Oh nooooo, that's just too simple. You've expired your disk
quota (which gets smaller week to week), and - oh no - exit WP now! Quick..
delete rm file! Oh dear, you've lost it. Gee, I can always retype it.
Argghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

THE BOURNEMOUTH DINOSAUR SAFARI

Bournemouth, a south coast tourist resort, presently has 2 dinosaur displays,
and last sunday I dragged my reluctant fiancee along to have a look.

One, the BDS, is there all the time, and I investigated. The other - the 'Living
World of Dinosaurs' is travelling, stays there till sept 8th. I've seen it
previously in York -just those big, Japanese robots. Anyway, the BDS (Expo
Cente, a little sidestreet to right of top of second precinct) was a kid's
thing. It was about the size of a big room with 2 interactive computers, 4 or
5 big model dinosaurs, and useless display boards. These were really makeshift,
knocked up out of hardboard and made freestanding. They dislayed all sorts of
'info' about dinosaurs and their world - how they laid eggs, ate, that sort of
thing. The info panels were augmented with nailed-on toys (mostly Invicta) to
illustrate the subjects and, in fact, most of the display consisted of these
toys. Little museums like this have (mostly) been here since the mid 80s or so,
and thus tend to be fairly comtemporary. _Baryonx_ thus got a mention (and a
Franczak painting), but 'Brontosaurus' was still the name of an ugly head and
neck towering above us. There were a couple of glassy dislay cases, one with
assorted ammonoids, ichthyosaur snout, that kind of thing, the other with a
camarasaur tooth and phalanx. Kish, Hallett and Paul paintings decorated some
of the spaces.

One corner of the safari is taken up by a fair-size diorama in which a
_Megalosaurus_ (looking suspiciously allosaur-like) has just topped a
scelidosaur, whose recumbent, plastic carcass (with spilled guts) lies on gravel
behind the theropod. The megalosaur was about 15 ft long, say 7 ft high, and
nicely hued in bright red, yellow and blue. My eyes! The other models, all
plastic, are a very tubby, featureless 'juvenile tyrannosaur', a very ugly
ornithomimid whose entire face seems to consist of downcurved jaws, a squat
_Protoceratops_, and the massive brontosaur. None are in the slightest
aesthetically pleasing. 

As is common in children's sources, the info hailed from all manner of popular
books. So while tyrannosaurus would eat 7 triceratops per year, brontosaurus
carried its tail off the ground and, going at least by the video we watched
(introduced by singing crocodile puppet Dill), tyrannosaurus was too heavy to
move fast and.... sigh.. plodded around looking for carcasses. The video did
feature a small crocodile 'bounding' along, semi-gallop, which was interesting
in the light of recent discussion. I didn't really read anything that I thought
would convey a good idea of what we know about dinosaurs, what is speculation,
and... something sadly lacking from all dinosaur displays I've seen in this
country, just how damned exciting dinosaurs are.... err, were.... There were 2
good things about the place.

Firstly, they had bought casts of some fossils and had them wall-mounted. One
was the very articulated skeleton of a metre-long 'pelycosaur', possibly an
eothyridid (there was no label), partly obscured by matrix. There was also an
othnielian, _Othnielia rex_ I think, with perfect skull, left hindlimb and
pelvis. I took copious notes, and spent many minutes admiring it.

Secondly, they had what is, so far, the best stocked toy shop I've seen! Besides
the awful, ubiquitous Invicta models, there were numerous madeinchinasaurs, many
never before seen by me. A special find was a 20 cm tall _Psittacosaurus_.

But, unless you've really nothing better to do (or collect toy
dinosaurs)............don't go. It's expensive to get in too.

"This body will never wear out: not so long as it's powered by my kryptonite
heart"  "Krypto---www-arghhh!"    "Yes, Superman, a little piece of rock from
your past. From the alien planet you were born on"
"You rebel scum"
"There's only one thing that happens to heros in this business"
"..... sugar"
"'Oh', said Henry's Cat"
"The only way to solve the mystery of the beast of Exmoor is to shoot one and
produce a carcass. So I use a soft-nose bullet which would internally blow the
beast to pieces."
"It was hard to believe that I was in the presence of super-dillo"
"I do know the rudest word in the dictionary!"  "No, no, it's alright"
"See, we were in a rock shop and, rock shops they sell things"
"Your body _will_ remember"
"There's nothing wrong with it"
"What's the matter Pile, you forget your name"  (abridged)

DARREN NAISH