Thursday, November 20, 2008

Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff

From the Boston Museum of Science Press Release:

"Triceratops Cliff made international headlines in April 2008 when it was the first Triceratops ever sold on public auction (at Christie’s in Paris) and bought by an anonymous collector for $942,797. A New York Times editorial said that “this fossilized superstar deserves a public audience…” Shortly after the auction, the Museum of Science, Boston received a call from that same anonymous collector who had loved visiting the Museum as a child. Wanting to share this discovery with as many people as possible, the collector offered the fossil on long-term loan to the Museum of Science — Boston's most attended cultural attraction. The Museum, which already had a full-size model Triceratops as well as two full-size models of Tyrannosaurus rex on display, was thrilled to exhibit the real fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur. (see picture here, blogger cant resize it for some reason)

The Museum will unveil Triceratops Cliff (named after the donor’s grandfather) to the world for the first time Saturday, November 15, 2008, in the exhibit Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff. The newly created exhibit will inspire visitors to imagine Cliff’s life and death in the age of the dinosaurs and compare the model with the real thing. Visitors will learn about the Hell Creek Formation and discover why the area is so rich with fossils. Visitors will explore other fossils from the Cretaceous period, such as fish and turtles, learning about florae and faunae that existed in Cliff’s lifetime. Virtual exhibit interactives will allow visitors to zoom in for a closer look at Cliff — right down to the bone, and compare a model to the real fossil. A fossilization animation and a T. rex versus Triceratops comparison station will ask how fossils form and why mostly complete specimens are so rare. (another picture)

Cliff was unearthed in 2004 on private land in the Hell Creek Formation, its bones still embedded in blocks of rock. The bones were removed from their rock matrix by the paleontological company ZOIC and reassembled as a skeleton in their lab in Italy with missing bones cast by model makers. Cliff's skeleton, which took Museum staff seven days to reassemble for display in Boston, appears as a completely articulated (or free standing) skeleton. Its gender is unknown."

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