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Mysteriasaur & the AMNH displays
Thanks to everyone for all your replies. It's clear to me that based on
the large number of replies that there is a clear consensus on what it was
I saw and I'm very grateful for all the personal work everyone has done to
research my question. Special thanks to Jeff for explaining
gigantosaurus/giganotosaurus. It was my spelling which was deficient and
before I found his excellent "Translation and Pronunciation Guide". Best
dinosaur pages I've ever found (and no Barney!!).
I put this on the list because I thought everyone might be interested in
the replies I received about the mysterious arms on display at the American
Museum of Natural History here in NY (a most excellent museum in so many
ways though the restaurant sucks and the planetarium is closed all this
year for a major, much needed, rennovation).
The universal consensus seems to be that the arms are from deinocheirus, an
ornithhomimid dug up in Mongolia that would weigh in the 2-4 ton range.
Definitely not what I was expecting and leads me to wonder about the
museum's accuracy in reporting. I remember explicitly that the museum
wrote on the placard and it would seem irresponsible to write such a thing
given the consensus on this list. In fact it was the claim that this
dinosaur would be the, "largest animal to have ever lived on earth", that
caught my attention in the first place. I too immediately thought of
something larger than a blue whale and it seemed impossible to imagine.
Particularly since at the AMNH one can see a lifesize model of a blue
whale in full 3D. I thought of some immense creature that picked its teeth
with seismosaur bones. It seems dishonest at worst, wildly speculative at
best and either way a discredit to a fine museum. Maybe they felt they had
to do something more spectacular given that the velociraptor skeleton looks
more like an infuriated chicken than a komodo dragon on steroids ala
The debate on this list about sauropods being able to rear-up on their hind
legs seems to have been "answered" by the new display at the entrance to
the new Hall of Dinosaurs at the AMNH too. For those who have not seen it
there is a tableau made of the two fossil skeletons of apatosaurs, one
adult the other juvenile, and (what I think is) an allosaur skeleton. The
allosaur is seen to be attacking the juvenile while the adult apatosaur
rears on its hind legs with both forelegs clearly in the air apparently
trying to squash the allosaur. The neck and head are high in the air.
It's a truly spectacular thing to see and breathtaking beyond words, but
again, the accuracy of the tableau seems in question given the recent
debate on this list.
Does it seem to anyone here that the new display at the AMNH is trading
scientific integrity for cashing in on dinosaur mania? The skeletons are
as wonderful as ever and I count the AMNH as extremely lucky in having such
a wonderful collection of rare and important finds (the archaeopteryx is
like seeing the Star of Africa), but I wonder about the quality of the
curatorship. Could they be pushing the exhibit into the more speculative
areas and out of the realm of accepted theories? Any thoughts anyone?
Peace, Love, Empathy-kdc