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Walking With Dinosaurs : The Exhibition

I've spent the last couple of weeks visiting all those glorious historic
houses, castles, gardens and national parks of Wales and northern England
(my favourite kind of vacation). While these parts of Britain are almost
devoid of dinosaur-related sites or museums (except southern Wales, where
Thecodontosaurus remains were found), a pleasant surprise awaited me while I
visited the city of York; The Walking With Dinosaurs touring exhibition.

The exhibition is located in a former church building, which gives it a
special atmosphere; imagine you are walking in a church, stepping on
medieval tombstones, while being watched by life-sized dinosaur models and
skeletons. It almost feels like dinosaurs have returned and are taking
possession of all signs of human activity of the past millennium (quite the
opposite of what humans are now doing to the natural world).

I think the exhibition is definitely worth a visit for all those
dinosaur-enthousiasts who happen to be in the neighbourhood of York. The
exhibition remains in York until 9 september 2001, at St Mary's church -
Castlegate (open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm, admission £2.95).

Below is a summary of what's on display (there are also marine reptiles,
pterosaurs and other vertebrates on display, but I will limit this list to

- the computer technology that was used to create the series

- several models (scaled-down) that were made to recreate the shape (of the
different dinosaur species) into a computerized version (scanned)

- life-sized dinosaur models from the series, including
a 2.5m (8ft) long Coelophysis
a beautiful 1.5m (5ft) long Ornitholestes (displayed in an active running
a juvenile 6m (20ft)long Diplodocus
a younger juvenile Diplodocus head (shown in the series while stripping
leaves of plants)
an impressive head of Eustreptospondylus
an Iguanodon head (reduced size)
a Muttaburrasaurus head (reduced size)
a 2m (6.5ft) long Leaellynasaura
a juvenile Torosaurus carcass (partially scavenged)
the latter is displayed together with a Tyrannosaurus head

- replicas of dinosaur fossils,
slab with the Coelophysis bauri holotype skeleton
an impressive bipedal skeleton of Plateosaurus engelhardti
a large Stegosaurus dorsal plate
a cast of the Archaeopteryx Berlin specimen
a cast of the Solnhofen Compsognathus longipes
a complete Allosaurus fragilis hand (manus)
an Allosaurus fragilis skull
a nest with 6 Dendroolithus eggs from China (on display in the Jurassic
section, while these eggs are Cretaceous in age and probably belong to
a Diplodocus skull
a large sauropod femur
a Deinonychus antirrhopus skull
a complete Hypsilophodon foxii skeleton
an Edmontosaurus regalis skull
Ankylosaurus magniventris skull (reduced size) and slab with 2 scutes
a Tyrannosaurus rex skull (cast of the Black Hills Institute Stan specimen,
you know the specimen where the teeth appear to be falling out)
a complete Triceratops horridus skull (including mandible)

- real dinosaur fossils include,
an Iguanodon vertebra and partial limb bone from the Isle of Wight

at least a dozen television sets are spread throughout the building and are
continuously running the WWD-series (high quality DVD-version), many
large-sized stills from the series cover the walls. Everything is arranged
according to the 6 episodes of the series, which means there is a late
Triassic display, 2 late Jurassic (1 Morrison & 1 marine ecosystem), 2
smaller displays for the early Cretaceous (British Wealden & Australia), and
a large display with late Cretaceous Hell Creek dinosaurs.

When I arrived back home, I found the new Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight
book in the mail (I ordered it earlier); you did a magnificent job Darren !
This book will be THE major reference on Wealden dinosaurs for next decades.
It contains an incredible amount of information on all those enigmatic
sauropods and small coelurosaurs, but also on the better known Wealden
dinosaurs. By the way I also like the Yaverlandia recontruction.

Together with the above book, I also ordered following books from the
Palaeontological Association; 

SPECIAL PAPERS IN PALAEONTOLOGY No 60. 1999. Cretaceous fossil vertebrates.
Ed D M Unwin. 220 pp; 14 pls; 68 text-figs.

FIELD GUIDES TO FOSSILS Number 8. The Jurassic Flora of Yorkshire. J. H. A.
Konijnenburg-van Cittert & H. S. Morgans. 1999. 134 pp., 20 plates.

The former contains invaluable papers on different types of mesozoic
vertebrates (including a couple of dinosaur papers), while the latter book
will be very useful, when I attempt to reconstruct the middle Jurassic
ecosystem that accomodated Megalosaurus bucklandii, Cetiosaurus oxoniensis
and Lexovisaurus durobrivensis.


Gunter Van Acker

GunterVanAcker.mesozoic@pi.be (home)


Gunter.VanAcker@Electrabel.com (work)