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Re: Dinofest Recollections
I was not as impressed. Of course, my reasons for going are probably different
than most everybody else's (I was looking for educational materials on
paleontology). The skeletons were amazing, the casted skulls were faboo!, and
the robotic animals are showing some evolution. I also filled up several rolls
However, I was disappointed that there were not more representatives of the
various museums and institutions there to talk to, and very little in the way
of informational handouts. I had specifically gotten my museum's permission to
go by selling them on the idea that I and my partner were going to pick up
ideas about how to get our teenage volunteers to interact with our guests using
an exhibit that doesn't move. And, while we did get some information, we did
not get nearly the amount of info that I had hoped we would.
As a visual spectacle, I have never seen its equal. As an educational tool, I
was entering with the wrong ideas - perhaps because this was my first Dinofest.
As disappointed as I was, I will return - hey, I may not have gotten the
educational materials I wanted, but I got to see a large numbers of specimens
that I had never had a chance to see before!
Overall, I think it deserves a lot of attention.
Brent : )
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>>> "Steve Brusatte" <email@example.com> 12/26/00 10:30PM >>>
Hope you all had a nice holiday. It seems that the Sci. American book was a
popular gift this year, and I guess it's fitting that I got it, too.
Anyway, I was able to go to Dinofest today, and since I haven't seen a really
large writeup of it on the list yet, I'll do my best to give some of the
First, we all keep hearing how it is scaled down because of the legal problems
with the storage. Well, if it's scaled down, then I'm scared to see what
scaled up is. The exhibit was huge, and was much more diverse that I
originally thought. I was very pleased to see a plethora of Permian
mammal-like reptiles, Mesozoic marine reptiles, mammoths and other Quarternary
animals, and even a bunch of the ubiquitous invertebrate marine fossils found
here in Illinois.
However, I was disappointed with the lack of feathered dinosaurs. My favorite
exhibit was Stephen Czerkas' set of three feathered Deinonychus individuals.
They were beautifully done, and, in my opinion, the single best piece of art in
the entire exhibit hall. But, that was pretty much it for the feathered guys.
There were about ten specimens of Confuciusornis...mostly _sanctus_, but one
_dui_. There was one model of Sinosauropteryx, I believe, and a few photos of
I think that an exhibit like this would have been a perfect place to introduce
the young dinosaur fans to the idea of feathered dinosaurs. Even though it was
the day after Christmas, there were probably at least 500 kids in the room at
any given time...likely more. Most of them probably have no idea about
feathers on dinos.
That was about it with the disappointment, though. There were probably about
30 dinosaur skeletons (mostly all cast). Among others, Seismosaurus,
Camarasaurus, Jobaria, Afrovenator, Tyrannosaurus, Saurophaganax, Allosaurus,
Torosaurus, Triceratops, Montanaceratops, Edmontosaurus, Maiasaura,
Psittacosaurus, Thescelosaurus and Coelurus were all represented with a
There were even more skulls, with a variety of Pachycephalosaurus, Carnotaurus,
Parasaurolophus, Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Avaceratops, Einiosaurus,
Marshosaurus, Edmontosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodocus,
Dilophosaurus, and Monolophosaurus skulls around.
Then there were the robots, with Dilophosaurus (spitting, by the way :-((),
Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Utahraptor, Camarasaurus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus,
and Titanosaurus all moving their robotic heads and tails.
Of course, there was a variety of marine reptile material, with Elasmosaurus,
Pleisosaurus, Tylosaurus, Mosasaurus, and Platecarpus among the many. Along
with these were the skeletons and skulls of other sea-going animals, including
Hesperornis and a few giant turtles and mammals.
There was a large exhibit on mammoths and their relatives, including
titanotheres and rhinos. Along with these were material from cave bears, saber
tooth tigers, and whales.
Sereno's African Giants exhibit was there, along with a nice Maryland dinosaur
exhibit (with Astrodon material). The ceratopsian exhibit was among the best,
with cast skulls or skeletons from at least eight different ceratopsians,
including Tyrannosaurus, Montanaceratops, Einiosaurus, and Avaceratops,
There were also many sauropods, among them Camarasaurus, Jobaria, Apatosaurus,
and of course, the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton-the humongous cast of
Along with these, there was a very nice exhibit on dinosaur eggs, with examples
from sauropods and theropods exhibited. These were accompanied by photos from
National Geographic, models of eggs, and a nice Oviraptor skeleton.
The Carnegie Museum, Sternberg Museum, Illinois State Geological Survey, U.S.
Geological Survey, Triebold Paleontology, Western Paleo Labs, Project
Exploration, and a nice Chinese museum (whose name I have forgotten) all had
The food was good, too, mostly Chicago style hot dogs and that nice deep dish
pizza. Of course, there was anything else you could imagine down in the Navy
Pier food court. And, even though it was hovering around zero degrees,
snowing, and the wind was blowing, the famous Ferris Wheel was still in
operation. Oddly enough, nobody was riding...
Those were the highlights of Dinofest. I was sad to see the absence of the art
show and the symposium, and am still waiting for the Dinofest 1998 Volume.
But, for being a scaled down exhibit, Dinofest Chicago was amazing. I have
eight rolls of film full of photos, which means that my website should be
overflowing with Dinofest photos soon...
I was also introduced to John Lanzendorf, and was able to view his collection
after leaving Navy Pier. He is a great asset to the field, and we certainly
need more people like him.
It was a nice day, and I recommend a visit for anybody in the Chicagoland area.
I am also interested to hear the opinions of others who have gone.
Happy New Year,
Steve Brusatte-DINO LAND PALEONTOLOGY
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