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Museum Exhibits

Posted on: January 10, 2020

Family-friendly exhibition explores the evolution of current theories about dinosaurs

Dinosaur Fossils

Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas, an engaging exhibition that will reveal a vivid picture of what living, breathing dinosaurs were really like, opens Jan. 25, 2020 at the Las Cruces Museum of Art, 491 N. Main St. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 12, 2020.

This exhibition introduces how current thinking about dinosaur biology has changed during the past two decades and highlights current research by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History and other leading paleontologists around the world.

Using a combination of major fossil finds, captivating computer simulations, and provocative models, Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas introduces a dynamic vision of dinosaurs and the scientists who study them. This exhibition examines in great detail recent scientific sleuthing and the array of investigative tools — from bioengineering computer software to CT scans — used by modern scientists to reinterpret many of the most persistent and puzzling mysteries of dinosaurs: what they looked like, how they behaved, and how they moved.

“This exhibition illustrates how scientists are using new ideas, new discoveries, and new technologies to revolutionize our understanding of dinosaurs,” said Mark A. Norell, curator of Dinosaur Discoveries and Chair and Macaulay Curator of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. “Our work reaches across many disciplines involving paleontologists, biomechanical engineers, paleobotanists, and others to showcase how we go about reconstructing the mysterious life of dinosaurs.”

The exhibition is divided into four major themes: “How Dinosaurs Moved;” “The Liaoning Forest;” “How Dinosaurs Behaved;” and “Extinction.” In “How Dinosaurs Moved,” biomechanical studies of dinosaur movement are explored, and it features the different movement styles of Tyrannosaurus rex and Apatosaurus. “The Liaoning Forest” is a diorama depicting a section of a 130 million-year old forest in China that has changed our thinking about dinosaur evolution. “How Dinosaurs Behaved” reconsiders the purposes of horns, frills, crests, and domes on many dinosaur skulls, asking if they were used for defense, mate recognition, or display. “Extinction” presents the evidence for theories concerning the end of the dinosaur age, including asteroid impact, global climate change, and massive volcanic eruptions.

Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas is a traveling exhibit organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; The Field Museum, Chicago; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh.

The Museum of Art is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The museum is accessible through RoadRUNNER Transit Route 1, Stop 36. For information, visit the Museum of Art website, at www.las-cruces.org/1542/Museum-of-Art, or call 575/541-3120.

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