Policemen stalked by pterodactyl - and more;Discover dinosaurs;Discovery series

16th July 1999 at 01:00
Hooked on dinos? These exhibits and websites will help you find out more


Dinosaurs: then and now the Dinosaur Society's touring exhibition, is at Chichester District Museum until September 25. On August 27, children aged six to 12 can join in a dinosaur race and handle real dinosaur bones, 10.30-11.30am or 2.30-3.30pm (pound;2.50 per session). Tel: 01243 784683.

A similar exhibition is touring the Fife region until February 2000. Now at Pittencrieff Museum for the summer holidays, it moves on to Kirkcaldy Museum in October and then goes to Forfar and Coupar Museums. The Dinosaur Society's "mini-exhibition", aimed particularly at children, is at Skipton Museum, North Yorkshire, this summer. Activities include: a magnetic puzzle, a discovery pit containing fossils, a footprint tray and a feely box. Dinosaur Society, tel: 01227 700116.

Forget One Million Years BC and Jurassic Park, you can see dinosaurs in 3-D at the Imax Cinema, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford. T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous is being screened daily (except Mondays) throughout the summer. Tel: 01274 202030.

Become a dinosaur detective at the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, by examining fossilised bones, teeth and eggs, or witness a prehistoric spectacle as three hissing and snarling robotic deinonychus's feed noisily on a freshly killed tenontosaurus. Among the highlights of the dinosaur exhibition are a reconstruction of a nest of dinosaur hatchlings and giant cross-sections of a diplodocus's leg. There is an accompanying education pack and lots of support material. Tel: 0171 938 9090.

Most regional museums will have dinosaur exhibits or galleries. The best include: Leicester New Walk Museum, tel: 0116 255 4100, Birmingham City Centre Museum, tel: 0121 303 2834, and Dorchester Dinosaur Museum, tel: 01305 269880.

Tourwest Ltd runs a fabulous travelling exhibition of robotic dinosaurs (180,000 visitors in Manchester recently). It's taking a summer break at present, but details of its next tour are available from tel: 0181 789 8864.

Since opening in 1996, the dinosaur exhibition in New York's Natural History Museum in Central Park West, 79th Street, has become a "must see". It boasts an enormous T-Rex and many interactive exhibits. Tel: 001 212 769 5000.

The Museum of Geology, Sandown, Isle of Wight houses a collection of fossils, including some picked up on the beach by visitors. There is also a nearby "Dinosaur Farm" where visitors can see dinosaurs being reconstructed from fossil remains, and talk to the experts.Tel: 01983 404344 The Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow A clutch of eggs recovered from China is currently on display here. Work is still going on to investigate them and their contents. Tel: 0141 330 4221.

A world-class $4.2 million Dinosaur Hall opened in March 1998 at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Visitors are greeted by a giganotosaurus, a recently discovered carnivore, even larger than the Academy's famous Tyrannosaurus rex, and a vast array of multi-sensory presentations. The website at www.acnatsi.org includes a tour of the hall, children's dinosaur art, dinomite stories and scavenger hunt gallery.


Some of the best dinosaur exhibitions are situated in the United States, but if you can't get to them physically, do the next best thing and visit them online. The preview edition of The Museum of the Rockies palaeontology website at www.montana.eduwwwmor contains information on exhibits and tours and there is an ancient murder mystery, "T-Rex on Trial: examining the evidence for meat-eating dinosaurs", posed by John ("Jack") Horner, the curator who advised Spielberg on the Jurassic Park dinosaurs (see 'Who's who' on page 32). Fun stuff for children includes a dinosaur detective quiz, books and cartoons. The museum's collection includes the first Tyrannosaurus rex found with arms and troodon eggs with the first dinosaur embryos found in the world.

Search the New Scientist site at www.newscientist.com for "dinosaur" and you'll turn up a wealth of information including an archive of articles published since April 1997. Intriguingtitles include: "Jurassic pink: what colour were they?"; "The Rex Files"; "Some dinosaurs liked it cold"; "When dinosaurs roamed Antarctica" and "Were dinosaurs really ubiquitous?" The Natural History Museum site at www.nhm.ac.uk has sections on research, education (families and individuals), a picture library and "Dinosaurs of the Gobi desert" (an exhibition which ran in 1997). The education section contains interactive dinosaur data files with suggestions for activities taken from the museum's dinosaur teaching pack.

Best of all, however, is the NHM's Science Casebook item, Recreating Dinosaurs - fact or fiction? - an engaging account of the museum scientists' attempts to replicate the Jurassic Park method by extracting DNA from 45-million-year-old amber.

Making an admirable attempt to bridge the gap between dinosaurs as entertainment and the academic discipline of palaeontology is Dinosauria On-Line at www.dinosauria.com The site includes a gallery of dinosaur-inspired art and a shop from which you can order replica T-rex teeth at $35 a pull, or life-sized oviraptor eggs for a mere $22.99. But it also provides one of the more accessible and thorough online dinosaur reference sources - the "Omnipaedia" - which includes a dictionary, maps, and even a pronunciation guide. All of which will help readers make sense of some of the more obscure articles in the well-stocked "Journal" area.

Those who like their dinosaur information straight and scholarly should try the Dinosaur Reference Center at www.crl.comsarimadinosaurs. This includes a list of all dinosaur types, sorted alphabetically by genus, from abelisaurus to zuniceratops, with a few terse notes on each. No concessions are made to the lay reader, but the site will be lapped up by the sort of fact-obsessed child who needs to know more dinosaur names than anyone else in the class.

For a complete contrast, visit the Museum of Unnatural Mystery at www.unmuseum.mus.pa.usunmuseum.htm, and go on the virtual dinosaur safari. There are plenty of vivid and even quite scary 3-D images, sprinkled with just enough scientific commentary and a dollop of enjoyable hokum. Like the story of the Texas policemen whoreckon they were stalked by a pterodactyl.

If none of these sites satisfies your pupils' thirst for dinosaur knowledge, try Dinolinks at www.ucmp.berkeley.edudiapsidsdinolinks.html Here you will find links to hundreds of dinosaur-related resources on the Internet - a measure of the enduring fascination the 245-million-year-old big lizards still exert on parts of the human race.

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