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Re: USA Today article on DMNH



>     Those good old, old, old days, when Kansas had a coast-line and 
> Wyoming was a rainforest spring back to life Saturday with the 
> opening of the $7.7 million 'Prehistoric Journey' Exhibition at the 
> Denver Museum of Natural History.

     Since both Ken and Jerry are off the dinonet for the time being, 
I'll brag on PJ myself.  Its a fantastic exhibit.  The last time I went 
in and looked around was only a week ago, when they were still fighting 
like mad to get it done on time (the fossil lab was the only part of PJ 
to actually be done ahead of schedule; the Othneilias were basically 
tagged on to give them something to do before most of the staff took 
off), then I went in this Saturday, opening day, and walked through it 
like I hadn't seen it under construction, and was amazed.  The whole 
design is neat, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.  Its a big 
exhibit, but every square foot is used.  The dim lighting is part of what 
makes it look so neat.  The diorama murals are fantastic.
     Of course, then theres the dinosaur mounts, which are both up to 
date, accurate, and dynamic looking (these last two unfortunately don't 
always go together when it comes to dinosaur mounts).  Ken's Stegosaurus 
mount includes the throat ossicles and has horizontally oriented spikes 
(this is the DMNH's old stego, found in Garden Park back in the 1930s.  
The new Garden Park Stego is mostly in the Dinosaur Depot in Canon, 
although the head, throat ossicles, and some anterior plates are on 
display in PJ as well, and the tail is on display downstairs).  
Jon Christians, who did the Allosaurus, made sure the ribs curved down 
instead of having the Draco, the flying lizard look.  The Allosaur also 
has gastralia (most of the skeleton is the standard Allosaur cast that 
most museums have, but  parts of the pelvis, various vertebrae, and a 
couple leg bones belong to a specimen found near Moffat).  Ken's 
Diplodocus looks great with its tail up in the air (several feet of 
posterior tail vertebrae are now tagged on that the old dinosaur hall 
didn't have room for), and the proper front feet.  It also has been 
given gastralia modeled after the new Apatosaurus's.  It pretty much 
dominates the dinosaur hall.  Ken and Karen Alf's Coelophysis are 
they first free standing mounts of the dinosaur ever done.  If you've 
seen any Ghost Ranch material, I think you can appreciate what an 
incredible job they did taking all those horrible, crappy little 
bones and mounting them.  There is a big one running along with some 
aetosaur vertebrae in its mouth, while a little one tags along 
trying to grab it away.  Jerry and Jennifer Moerman did a wonderful 
job remounting the Edmontosaurus, also with its tail off the ground.  They 
also gave it some ossified tail tendons.  Jerry, Jennifer, 
and Bryan Small did the Othneilias, which are running away 
from the brawling Stegosaurus and Allosaurus.  Bryan also 
did the fighting Dimetrodon and Eryops mounts back in the 
Permian part of the exhibit, and there is a nifty 
recontructed mount of Lucy coming down out of a tree by 
Ken.  There were several other Cenozoic mammal, permian reptile and 
amphibian, and assorted invertebrate fossils, but I wont go into 
those.  Go to the museum and see it youself.
     With the exception of Ken and Bryan, the staff has moved on.  They are...

Ken Carpenter (working on his ph.D, which is why hes off the net)
Bryan Small (studying Triassic material from Colorado)
Karen Alf (studying the eggshell material from Canon City)
Jon Christians (plans to teach middle school, also teaching at the museum) 
Jennifer Moerman (still doing fossil prep: I can't remember for who!!!) 
Jerry Harris (graduate student at Southern Methodist)

     They did really cool!


LN Jeff