THE WORLD’S LARGEST DINOSAURS
ON VIEW AT MAYBORN MUSEUM BEGINNING JUNE 5
The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, a major exhibition on view at Mayborn Museum from June 5 to September 26, explores the amazing biology of a group of uniquely super-sized dinosaurs: the long-necked and long-tailed sauropods. Organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the exhibition draws on paleo-biological research that looks in part to living organisms to make inferences about how these giants—some of which grew to be longer than 150 feet, or the length of four standard city buses—were able to thrive, as a group, for approximately 140 million years. Through imaginative exhibits—including the exhibition centerpiece, a life-sized, detailed model of a 60-foot-long Mamenchisaurus—The World’s Largest Dinosaurs takes visitors beyond the bones and into the bodies of these titans, shedding light on how heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and reproduction are linked to size.
Distinguished by their colossal size, sauropods included animals of diverse shape, and ornamentation, such as the gigantic Apatosaurus, formerly known as Brontosaurus, a mount of which has been on display in the American Museum of Natural History since 1905. Focusing on the biology and behavior of these diverse creatures, The World’s Largest Dinosaurs builds on a growing body of research that examines dinosaurs as living animals, primarily through comparisons with modern dinosaur relatives.
The exhibition is curated by Mark Norell, Division Chair and Macaulay Curator of the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology, who has done groundbreaking work in the field of dinosaur biology, and features the work of exhibition guest co-curator Martin Sander from the University of Bonn in Germany. Sander has assembled a multi-disciplinary research team of experts in materials science, animal nutrition, sports medicine, biomechanics, and paleontology to address the intriguing question of what sauropods in particular were like as living animals and how they became so large.
In their research, both Norell and Sander look to the closest modern relatives of dinosaurs, such as birds and crocodiles, to make inferences about sauropod biology, and the exhibition includes an array of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that offer visitors of all ages engaging opportunities to compare sauropods with living animals. For instance, visitors can compare sauropod teeth with those of modern plant-eaters and carnivores or use a hand pump to discover how much pressure would have been needed to distribute blood through a sauropod’s long neck to its head.
“This exhibition represents a new era of dinosaur research that leverages recent advances in technology and the expertise of multiple scientific disciplines to understand how the largest animals to ever roam the earth actually lived,” said Mark Norell. “It demonstrates how our understanding of these enormous creatures continually evolves and changes in response to new science.”
“The question of sauropod biology, particularly their gigantic size and incredible longevity as a group has interested me for some time,” said Martin Sander, guest co-curator from the University of Bonn, Germany. “This exhibition addresses this question through a multi-disciplinary research process that reconstructs the mysteries of sauropod life in vivid detail.”