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Gigantic Dinosaurs Invade Te Papa!

2 December 2003

MEDIA RELEASE

GIGANTIC DINOSAURS INVADE TE PAPA!

Skeletons of huge dinosaurs that roamed the plains of China over 150 million years ago will go on display at Te Papa from Saturday 6 December. These are among the finest and most complete specimens in the world.

Dinosaurs from China is a new exhibition of spectacular dinosaur specimens. Central to the show are gigantic lumbering sauropods, such as the 26-metre-long Mamenchisaurus, the stegosaur Huayangosaurus with its sharp spines and sturdy plates, the ancient prosauropod Lufengosaurus, the duck-billed hadrosaur Tsintaosaurus, and vicious allosaur predators such as the terrifying Yangchuanosaurus. Amazing and startling feathered dinosaurs are also featured such as Caudipteryx and Velociraptor.

Dinosaurs from China serves as a great introduction to the study of fossils, and a special Dinosaur Trail activity has been developed for younger children. Highlights in the exhibition include information and objects relating to one of the most exciting areas of dinosaur discovery in recent years - the evolutionary connection between dinosaurs and birds.

Scientists have known about dinosaurs for less than 200 years. The first fossil to be recognised as dinosaur, the Iguanodon tooth, was found by Gideon and Mary Ann Mantell in 1820 at Cuckfield, Sussex, England. That Iguanodon tooth is part of Te Papa's permanent collection and will be featured in the exhibition, along with several other stunning Gideon Mantell possessions.

Te Papa has also developed a section on the relatively unknown story of dinosaurs in New Zealand and their champion, Joan Wiffen. Herds of dinosaurs continued to thrive in New Zealand after the breakaway from Gondwanaland about 85 million years ago.

Various ideas relating to the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, including meteorite impact, volcanism (widespread volcanic activity), and massive release of methane gas from the sea floor are also explored.

Dinosaurs from China is based on the Australian Museum Chinese Dinosaurs exhibition. It opens on Saturday 6 December and runs until Easter Monday, 12 April, 2004. Adults $9.50, children (4-14 years) $4.50.

ENDS

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