Video: Dismantling a real dinosaur


So those are real bones, huh? Millions of years old? I’ve always wondered about that in museums. It seems like often you’re looking at reproductions instead of the actual ancient items, though I rarely see things labelled as reproduction. Perhaps museums are much more willing than I thought to put actual artifacts in front of the masses.

To be followed by the “Dinosaur Unboxing” video in a few months.

Perhaps museums are much more willing than I thought to put actual artifacts in front of the masses.

Some might say that this the point of museums.

One might. But it’s very common to show replicas. I’m just trying to get a sense of how common.

Well in the case of “Sue” the T. rex at the Chicago Field Museum teh famous skeleton on display is not the real skull. It’s a skulpted recreation of the skull.

The real skull is up on the mezzanine level. It’s smashed like someone stepped on a beer can (not obvious in this picture) and that was considered to be in remarkably good shape.

I think they may find complete skeletons of smaller dinosaurs fairly often. But I doubt that many complete museum grade skeletons of large animals go back past the interglacial periods of the recent ice age(s) without needing at least the recreation of some missing parts. Also, mineralized bone is going to be fragile, full of cracks, and very heavy. This is not the sort of material that lends itself to being bolted onto a free-standing iron armature.

I learned something new on wikipedia today
Sue (dinosaur)

In Jim Butcher’s novel Dead Beat, protagonist Harry Dresden raises Sue from the dead and uses her as a steed during part of the final battle of the book.

The bone-shaped rocks of fossil specimens are often replicated in plaster and plastic for a few very good reasons. To be blunt, they are heavy, fragile, and can be extremely valuable to the kind of douchebags who steal art, artifacts, and other collectibles. The engineering that goes into a big skeletal reconstruction with the originals is impressive, but most museums don’t go through the trouble. Nor should they. The Nat is a bit of a different case; it sort of serves as a museum of itself as well as curating its collections.

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