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Take your family to meet a family of dinosaurs
Velociraptor – a small coelurosaur, a dinosaur featured in the exhibition with many bird-like characteristics Image: James Morgan Photographic Consultancy Source: Australian Museum
The Australian Museum in Sydney put together an exhibition called Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, a multimedia experience showcasing the newly-revised tyrannosaur family tree.
Now that exhibition is heading down south so we can enjoy it in Melbourne.
While more of an arts bard than a science boffin, I'll try my best to explain what's new and exciting about this exhibition.
It has to do with new tyrannosaur genealogy. We used to just think of Tyrannosaurus Rex as just a large-headed, pretty scary, carnivorous predator with tiny little arms.
But in the last ten years there have been a large number of fossil discovers that have changed that Jurassic movie type of horror and softened the picture. They have found older and smaller tyrannosaurs which make the evolutionary tale of this group a lot more complex.
The versions we are most familiar with such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Albertosaurus, and Tarbosaurus, were part of the Late Cretaceous period in Asia and North America.
But there were tyrannosaurs who lived up to 100 million years earlier and were much smaller in size (some one-one hundredth of the size of T. rex), and they lived all over the world.
So in layman's terms, instead of being large and scary, most of them were small and stayed that way until end of the Cretaceous or in other words the last 20 million years of dinosaur history.
This exhibition puts this all this together for you but in a novel and exciting ways. Kids will love it.
They will get to see a great array of fossils and casts of tyrannosaur bones, including never before seen specimens from China.
But probably coolest and most memorable of all there will be a multimedia experience of large scale projections of dinosaurs.
There is a chance to see the first revised tyrannosaur family tree and to meet Guanlong wucaii – the newly discovered feathery relative of Tyrannosaurus rex. You will also learn how recent scientific findings confirm the links between dinosaurs and birds.
There will also be a portrait of dinosaur life which shows how this group became the world's top predators with their massive hulk skulls, nasty jaws and bone-grinding teeth.
In fact there is a gadget that allows you to compare the bite-force of a Tyrannosaurus rex (approx. 6 tonnes of pressure) against your own. You can event see the fossilised pre-digested stomach contents - so what ever turns you on or off for that matter.
But best of all there will be 10 life-sized dinosaur specimens on display.