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Monday, January 23, 2017

Dinosaurs staging a return visit to Waterloo Region



   One-Tank Trip for Jan. 21-17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Dinosaurs that roamed the earth millions of years ago are returning to Waterloo Region.
   Not exactly the real, live ones but more than 10 life-sized dinosaur specimens in the North American premier of Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family at the Waterloo Region Museum in Kitchener.
   This “blockbuster exhibit” is in town from Feb. 3 to April 30 and the “innovative, hands-on immersive experience” was developed by the Australian Museum.
   “Come face-to-face with life-sized dinosaur skeletons, including Scotty, the Tyrannosaurus rex” said Sean Jasmins, museums’ supervisor of marketing and partnerships.
An exhibition at the Waterloo Region Museum showcases the newly revised tyrannosaur family tree. (James Horan, Australian Museum)
   As well, meet up with one of the oldest tyrannosaurs, Guanlong wucaii, the newly discovered feathery relative of T. rex, he added.
   This exhibit showcases the newly revised tyrannosaur family tree and is designed to provide a snapshot of dinosaur life and show how this group became the world’s top predators with their massive skulls, powerful jaws and bone-crunching teeth.

   It will be the first exhibition to showcase the revised tyrannosaur family tree.
   “Who isn’t fascinated by dinosaurs?” said Tom Reitz, manager/curator of the museum.
   “This provides a snapshot of dinosaur life and shows how this group of animals became the world’s top predators with their massive skulls, powerful jaws and bone-crunching teeth,” he added.
   Visitors can discover and learn how recent scientific findings confirm the links between dinosaurs and birds.
   Using multi-touch technologies, they can compare their arm strength to that of a mighty T. rex and grasp the enormous scale of geological time in the context of human evolution.
Tyrannosaurus rex is a featured attraction at a dinosaur exhibition in Kitchener. (James Horan, Australian Museum)
   They can also download a free Tyrannosaurs app and have fun hatching dinosaur eggs and collecting them while discovering secrets behind this formidable dinosaur family.
   Current scientific research is causing the world’s most popular dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus
rex to be re-evaluated, Jasmins said.
   Though one of the first tyrannosaurs to be discovered, T. rex – the swift, flesh-eating apex predator – was actually the last in a long dinosaur dynasty that appeared 165 million years ago and perished 100 million years later.
   During the past five years, paleontologists have discovered T. rex’s smaller ancestors including Guanlong wucaii.
   It is among the most primitive tyrannosaurs known, hunting 90 million years before T. rex.
  Discoveries like these are changing the story of the evolution of tyrannosaurs and this fossil helps make the case that feathers originated in dinosaurs before they became used for flight in birds.
   In small, flightless dinosaurs like Guanlong wucaii, feathers may have evolved as something essential for staying warm.
   The latest dinosaur finds by Chinese palaeontologist Xing Xu and his team were discovered together in Northwestern China preserved in layers of shale, mudstone and volcanic ash.
Visitors can get up close to life-sized dinosaur specimens at the Waterloo Region Museum in Kitchener. (James Horan, Australian Museum)
   Shedding light on what life was like 160 million years ago for this group of dinosaurs, these discoveries have cemented the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.
   Even with mass extinction events 65 million years ago, some dinosaurs survived and continued to evolve into the modern birds we live with today.
   With a name meaning crown dragon, Guanlong wucaii lived 160 million years ago in the late Jurassic period, with its eponymous spectacular head crest running along its snout from nostril to eye socket.
   Not a typical tyrannosaur, it had long arms and three-fingered hands for grabbing and ripping.
   Other featured specimens in the exhibition include Dilong, Tarbosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Albertosaurus, Appalachiosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Teratophoneus.

   If you go
   The museum, at 10 Huron Rd., Kitchener, anticipates record crowds to see this exhibition that runs through Family Day weekend and March Break.
   Extended hours to 8 p.m. on Feb. 23, March 23 and April 13 are also offered.
   It is said to be “appropriate for all ages, including children over three years.”
   Admission to the museum and exhibits is $10, adults; $8, seniors and students; $5, ages five to 12; free, four and younger; $25, family, two adults and dependent children. waterlooregionmuseum.com; (519) 748-1914

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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