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The head of an Allosaurus fragilis in the new exhibitionImage: AP

Dinosaurs Take Berlin

DW staff / dpa (emw)
July 13, 2007

No need to make a run for it when a giant reptile looks as if it's about to start feasting on your leg. The computer-generated creature is part of an exhibit opening Friday at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin.


What sounds like a scene from the adventure film Jurassic Park can be seen in a computer animation exhibit that opened Friday at Berlin's Museum of Natural History. But the "Evolution in Action" exhibit, housed in four renovated halls, is intended to act as a bridge between scientific research and everyday life.

The star of the exhibit is a 13-meter-high and 15-meter-long (42.6 foot-high and 49.2-foot long) Brachiosaurus, the tallest dinosaur model ever mounted in a museum. Five additional skeletons from the museum's collection of 150-million-year-old dinosaurs from Tanzania's Mount Tendaguru are also on display, along with fossil plants and animals that lived in eastern Africa at the same time.

Brachiosaurus, taller than ever

Sauriersaal im Naturkundemuseum Berlin rekonstruiert
The record breaking Brachiosaurus model in its new homeImage: AP

The dinosaur skeletons, discovered by German researchers in Tanzania 100 years ago, had to be dismantled and conserved while restoration work costing 18 million euros ($24 million) was carried out in the 120-year-old museum, which is part of Berlin's Humboldt University.

Each individual piece, from toe to teeth, was covered in a protective layer and reassembled in new steel corsets. A crane was needed to rebuild the Brachiosaurus -- a process which took several weeks.

After reconstruction, the creature's head is not one meter higher than it was before, in accordance with the latest scientific research. The colossus also stands more upright and is presented as running when seen through the light of the hall's glass-domed roof.

Scoping the Jurassic

Sauriersaal des Naturkundemuseums Berlin rekonstruiert
A crane was needed to rebuild the Brachiosaurus in a process taking several weeksImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Positioned close to the skeletons are binoculars or Jurascopes, as museum director Reinhold Leinfelder called them, which enable visitors to see the Tendaguru world as if they had actually been there 150 million years ago.

Animated films show the dinosaurs smacking their lips and letting out loud roars as they trample through the prehistoric landscape. Though the exhibit makes use of the most up-to-date information, the Jurascopes remain an imaginative exercise as experts don't know what colors the dinosaurs were or how their roars sounded.

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