Ultimate Dinosaurs showcases some of the most spectacular dinosaur discoveries and cutting-edge scientific research from the southern hemisphere in recent years. Why were southern dinosaurs so bizarre and unique from their better-known North American counterparts? There are lots of ways in the exhibition to dig into this question. Highlights:
- Seventeen fully articulated skeletons and dozens of fossils and casts, including dinosaurs discovered by scientists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
- Stunning video projections and life-size murals that take you back to prehistoric time.
- Video projection of sauropods that gives you an opportunity to walk (and run!) alongside life-size dinosaurs.
- Augmented reality (AR) viewers that guests look through to examine the skeleton of Carnotaurus, laying skin over the bones and showing what it looked like in real life.
- Fossil Prep Lab activities to try out fossil preparation techniques on special fossil casts and let kids imagine and explore with some tools of the trade.
- Stations with interactive projection microscopes, touchable specimens, puzzles, and more.
- Microfossil sifter that demonstrates how paleontologists search for tiny fossils.
- Digital continental drift game to reassemble the continent of Gondwana and gather facts about the southern hemisphere and their prehistoric residents.
- 3D printer creating replicas of real fossils.
- Dinosaur Adventure Guide to use at embossing stations throughout the exhibition.
PLATE TECTONICS DRIVES EVOLUTION
The story of these amazing beasts begins with the supercontinent of Pangaea. The continents we know today were once concentrated into one landmass. Dinosaurs first appeared on Pangaea during the Triassic Period, 250 million years ago. These early dinosaurs were generally similar to one another, and there were no major ocean barriers to stop them moving from one place to another. Then rifting caused the continents to gradually begin shifting and breaking up. Pangaea divided near the equator to form gigantic landmasses in the north (Laurasia) and in the south (Gondwana). This process accelerated into Cretaceous time and set the stage for the evolution of the dinosaurs of Gondwana.
FOSSIL PREP LAB
This section of the exhibition was added by the Museum to give guests of all ages a sense of what it’s like to work in a fossil preparation lab to get the specimens ready for study and display. Use tools of the trade to help “prepare” a specially designed fossil cast embedded in an artificial matrix. Open drawers and peer at fossils in their storage cabinets. Pretend to be a fossil preparator in the imagination area with play tools and equipment.
THE GREAT GONDWANA DINOSAURS
In the early Cretaceous Period, Gondwana in the south broke into individual landmasses, and animal groups began to evolve in their own unique directions on these continental rafts. This splendid isolation resulted in some of the most bizarre-looking and gigantic dinosaurs known today.
Africa was the first continent to break away. This section features dinosaurs from Gadoufaoua, a rich fossil locality in Niger, Africa. This fauna includes some of the best-preserved dinosaurs from Africa as well as crocodiles, birds, and amphibians. Featured dinosaurs: Ouranosaurus, Malawisaurus, Suchomimus, Nigersaurus, and Carcharodontosaurus.
Madagascar remains isolated from the major continents today. Its lemur-dominated fauna has evolved under the same evolutionary conditions of biotic isolation as the strange dinosaurs did millions of years before. Featured dinosaurs: Majungasaurus and Simosuchus as well as Masiakasaurus and Rapetosaurus, both of which were discovered by a team led by David Krause, curator of paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
The Cretaceous rocks of South America have produced some of the most spectacular dinosaur fossils ever found. Most of the dinosaurs of Gondwana have come from this continent, particularly from Argentina, which has proven particularly prolific in recent years. Featured dinosaurs: Futalognkosaurus, Argentinosaurus,Amargasaurus, Buiteraptor, Carnotaurus, Austroraptor, and Giganotosaurus.
DINOSAUR HUNTERS SHARE THEIR PASSION
Meet some of the scientists who are making these awesome discoveries! This video features paleontologists discussing their scientific adventures, including the Museum’s own dinosaur hunter, Dr. Joe Sertich.
FUTURE OF FOSSIL PREP
A 3D printer shows how fossil preparation has changed the landscape for studying fossils and sharing specimens more easily and broadly.
BIRDS ARE REALLY DINOSAURS!
A specimen of a modern bird from the Museum collections and a graphics about the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period explore the century-old question of the origins of the avian family tree.
Choose from a wide selection of merchandise in the exhibition shop to remember your day with the ultimate dinosaurs.
ONLINE AUDIO GUIDE
Online audio guide available in English and Spanish at ultimatedinosaurs.org/ad.