July 21, 2024

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Visit the Natural History Museum, London, from a giant dinosaur

Visit the Natural History Museum, London, from a giant dinosaur

London (CNN) In the venerable halls of London’s Natural History Museum, one of the largest animals to ever walk the Earth is about to make its debut.

Patagotitan mayorum, a dinosaur giant belonging to a group known as titanosaurs, is visiting Europe for the first time since its discovery in Argentina in 2010. Standing over five meters (16 feet) tall and weighing more than two and a half metric tons, give visitors an idea of ​​what this giant would have looked like The gentle, which would have weighed as much as 57 metric tons and stretched over 120 feet long, when it lived on earth about 100 million years ago.

Sinead Maroun, director of exhibitions and interpretation at the museum, said a team of technicians is putting the finishing touches on the Stars gallery, which arrived in the UK in January and has been rebuilt in a room with a specially reinforced floor.

On display alongside the skeleton, which is a cast, are real fossils, including a bone measuring 2.4 meters (8 feet) long and weighing about half a metric ton.

“The idea for the exhibition has been in the works for a few years now,” Maroun said, explaining that the COVID-19 pandemic had been disrupted. “We are very excited to finally bring Patagotitan to the UK.”

An early guest gets up close and personal with a Patagotitan mayor at the Museum of Natural History.

Raise the dead bodies

When the Patagotitan mayoran was first excavated, the paleontologist was rocked. Nine times heavier than the African elephant and longer than the blue whale, it was probably a giant herbivore The largest land animal of all time.

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The first evidence for Patagotitan appeared in 2010 with the discovery of A one bonebefore a more extensive excavation in 2013 yielded more than 180 bones of seven partial skeletons. Evidence suggests that dinosaurs were buried in the flood.

A graphic showing the size of a titanosaur in relation to a diplodocus and an African elephant.

The fossils were 3D scanned and used by the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio (MEF) in Argentina as the basis for a complete skeleton of approximately 300 bones. The mold is made of a shell of fiberglass and polyester resin, filled with expanded foam, displayed on a steel frame.

“The replica is composite – it includes bones from at least six different individuals that were found at the site,” Maron explained. “For the bones that weren’t found, the team specializing in MEF filled in the gaps using what we know from closely related dinosaurs.”

Replica of Patagotitan Mayor It resides at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, but the dinosaur had not been shown in Europe before the MEF was borrowed by the Museum of Natural History.

Packing in Patagonia

A specialized division of the shipping company IAG Cargo was tasked with transporting the dinosaur from Argentina.

Chief executive David Shepherd told CNN that the department has transported items including terracotta soldiers, Egyptian mummies and Assyrian treasures to the UK, which means, given their value and delicate nature, staff and customers are subject to stringent screening requirements to ensure the items are safe. “The goods are stored in state-of-the-art lockers that are constantly monitored using surveillance cameras and active human monitoring,” he said.

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Castings and fossils were stored in more than 40 specially designed boxes. They were placed in the belly of two British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliners and transported 7,000 miles from Ezeiza Airport, Buenos Aires, to London Heathrow, before being transferred to a special facility before being transferred to the museum.

He opened the box of the 2.4-meter (8-foot) long fossil of the femur, which weighed about half a ton.

“Fossils are much heavier than replicas, which makes them more complex to store, transport and display than replicas,” Maroun said. “In addition, the original fossils are of enormous value to scientific research.”

“For this move, every bone required a temporary fossil heritage export permit,” Shepard explained. “This is very similar to a passport and includes details such as the kit’s name, code, weight and size, and a photograph, as well as insurance and a visa-like document, giving them permission to leave the country for a specified time.”

He added that the customs clearance and security inspection took four days.

Workers reconstructed the mold inside the Museum of Natural History.

The assembly took place inside the Museum’s Waterhouse Gallery, away from the public eye. “There was a lot of measurement checks to make sure we could actually get the samples in our Grade II listed Victorian building,” said Marron.

The unveiling has been officially scheduled for Friday 31 March to coincide with the start of the school holidays in the UK, and huge crowds are expected.

“We hope visitors will be awed by the sheer size of the titanosaurus. It’s an incredible experience to stand beneath it, to be dwarfed by such an enormous creature,” said Marron.

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But with the new addition, has the museum taken Debbie’s feelings into account? lovable skeleton double focus, Until 2015 stalwart of the museum He is currently touring the UK, not in London to defend his band.

The two dinosaurs won’t meet minds, Maron said, but “we’re sure Debbie is excited that a big cousin has come to visit.”