DIG INTO DINOLABS & DINODIG
Who knew you could find dinosaurs in your own backyard? DinoLabs and DinoDig® bring the fascinating story of dinosaurs discovered in North Texas to life with full articulations of dinosaur skeletons native to the region and a dig site replicating a local paleontological field site.
DinoLabs is a 3,700-square-foot-gallery where you can experience the immensity of the State Dinosaur of Texas for the very first time: Paluxysaurus jonesi. Skeletons of Tenontosaurus dossi and an ornithopod dinosaur are also fully articulated in the exhibition. Fossils and casts of two other dinosaur species are displayed, as well.
Within this exhibition, you have the opportunity to experiment with fossils, measure bones to determine dinosaur size and surrounding environment, and use microscopic discovery to compare dinosaur characteristics to those of present-day creatures.
“We are extremely proud to house the State Dinosaur of Texas, the Paluxysaurus jonesi, in our gallery. Ours is a large specimen – measuring 12 feet high at the shoulder and more than 60 feet in length, and weighing 22 tons,” said Museum of Science and History President Van A. Romans. "Another unique aspect of DinoLabs is that all of the dinosaurs are articulated from as many actual fossils as possible, rather than solely from fossil reproductions.”
The culmination of DinoLabs is an interactive imaging station where you can begin to reconstruct your own dinosaur based on information you’ve gleaned from the exhibition, as well as to find the right flora and fauna for your dinosaur creation. You can actually create a dinosaur – determine its size, skin color and texture, diet, and living environment – by entering basic information into a computer system.
DinoDig®, an outdoor experience, began with the Museum in 1993. An historical all-time favorite for young guests to the Museum, this updated exhibition invites guests to “become a paleontologist,” as they discover the skills needed to uncover and excavate fossils in a reproduction of the Jones Ranch where the Paluxysaursus jonesi was discovered in 1982. DinoDig® features rock formations embedded with fossils based on the actual dig site.
“It was important for us to bring DinoDig® back to our patrons,” said Romans. “However, we wanted to bring it back in a contemporary, interactive fashion. The updated version enhances the learning experience by allowing our guests to understand the science and physics involved in fossil excavation and preservation.”
As museum guests explore the sandy ground of DinoDig®, they will discover authentic local fossils of shark teeth, clams, snails, sea biscuits, and ammonites dispersed throughout the exhibit.
“In addition to the fun of discovering and digging up fossils, DinoDig® offers field guides that allow guests to experience the methodology behind fossil excavation,” said Russell. “It’s important that guests understand the science paleontologists use, so we incorporated an additional science overlay into DinoDig®.
“DinoDig and DinoLabs provide our guests with two important aspects of paleontology,” said Museum of Science and History Curator of Science Dr. Aaron Pan. “DinoDig gives one a taste of the exhilaration and joy of fieldwork and discovery, while DinoLabs allows our guests to see how scientists prepare and study fossils to determine how these amazing animals lived and interacted with their environment.”
FACTS: PALUXYSAURUS JONESI STATE DINOSAUR OF TEXAS
Paluxysaurus jonesi lived around 112 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period and was common to North Texas, based on fossils from Hood County and dinosaur foot prints from near Glen Rose, Texas. It measured close to 12 feet high at the shoulder, was approximately 60 feet in length, and weighed roughly 20 tons. The species in the Fort Worth Museum of Science and The History was discovered at the Jones Ranch in Hood County.
The dinosaur was originally identified as the Pleurocelus. However, in 2006, based on years of research, the massive sauropod was re-identified by then Southern Methodist University Geology Master’s student Peter Rose, as belonging to a different species and was named Paluxysaurus jonesi.
North Texas is home to at least six species of dinosaurs including Acrocanthosaurus, Paluxysaurus, Pawpawsaurus, Protohadros, Tenontosaurus, and an (as yet) unnamed small ornithopod dinosaur.
Right outside DinoLabs on the north end of the Museum is yet another large dinosaur. A 62-foot-long dinosaur topiary, to be exact! Learn about this unique addition to the Museum's dinosaur collection.