If anyone in your family loves dinosaurs — and let’s face it, what young child isn’t fascinated by them? — you’ll want to visit the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to check out “Ultimate Dinosaurs.”
The museum’s newest exhibit, which runs through April 26, lets visitors come face to face with a whole new world of dinosaurs — the unique and bizarre dinosaurs of the Southern Hemisphere. That’s right: you’ll likely be learning about new species, not the standard triceratops, stegosaurus and T-rex, the facts about which your 5-year-old already has memorized.
Based on groundbreaking research from scientists around the world, Ultimate Dinosaurs reveals species of dinosaurs that evolved in isolation in South America, Madagascar, and other parts of Africa and examines how and why are they are so different from their North American counterparts.
Among the species featured in “Ultimate Dinosaurs” are:
- Giganotosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur from Gondwana and perhaps the largest land predator ever. Giganotosaurus has been dubbed the bigger, badder cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex.
- Eoraptor, a tiny bipedal dinosaur that lived about 228 million years ago. Its two kinds of teeth — serrated and flat — suggest it was an omnivore.
- Suchomimus, a spinosaur from the Sahara Desert in Niger. It was 33 feet long and weighed more than 6,600 pounds.
- Majungosaurus, a theropod from Madagascar. It is believed that it exhibited cannibalistic behavior at least some of the time.
- Rapetosaurus, a titanosaur named after the mischievous Malagasy folklore giant, Rapeto. An adult Rapetosaurus may have been up to 60 feet long.
In addition to full-size reconstructions and real, touchable fossils, “Ultimate Dinosaurs” includes kid-friendly activities, like embossed images at six stamp stations, toy replicas just begging to be played with, a tube that lets you sift for fossils, and more.
The exhibit’s technological component is impressive, as well, and includes mounted tablets that can be angled at the life-size skeleton casts for an augmented reality experience, letting visitors imagine the creatures in the flesh. As you move the tablet to uncover different body parts, pressing buttons on the touchscreen brings up additional information about that dinosaur.
“Ultimate Dinosaurs” tells the origin story of the continents, how they once were fully connected, and how their separation resulted in evolutionary diversity in dinosaurs. Budding paleontologists will appreciate that some of the species featured in the exhibit are relatively new finds, unknown even to scientists as recently as 30 years ago.
“Ultimate Dinosaurs,” located in Kahn Hall, is included with general museum admission. Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s regular hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Wednesday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday noon–5 p.m. Extended holiday hours are: Fridays, December 20, 27 and January 3, open through 8 p.m.; and Sundays, December 22, 29 and January 5, open at 10 a.m. CMNH is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, go to cmnh.org.