ROM Dinosaurs Strike New Poses

Opening of new Age of Dinosaurs gallery shows a few old favourites in more accurate poses

(Toronto, Ontario – November 29, 2007) When the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) unveils the first two new galleries of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and the Gallery of the Age of Mammals on the weekend of December 15 and 16, 2007, visitors will experience the return of several old favourites, mounted in dramatic new ways.

In all, nine dinosaurs have been repositioned slightly or radically, to appear as they might have stood millions of years ago.

The dinosaur that has changed position most drastically is the ROM’s Corythosaurus, a hadrosaur or “duck-billed” dinosaur and one of the most complete skeletons of its kind. Its bones have been completely repositioned in what is now considered the anatomically correct posture for this dinosaur. When the Corythosaurus was originally mounted in 1932, this hadrosaur stood on its hind legs, with its head almost touching the 17-foot (5-metre) ceiling and its tail drooping along the ground. This pose was generally accepted as correct at the time.

Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, palaeontologists began to look closely at the shape and relative sizes of their bones and the fact that they have hoof-like endings to their front toes. They realized that these dinosaurs could not have stood up tall on their hind legs. Their bones just won’t “do that.” In fact they must have stood and walked on four feet, with their backbone and tail nearly straight and parallel to the ground.

Among the other dinosaurs to be remounted is the popular Albertosaurus, a close cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as the Chasmosaurus, a horned dinosaur related to the Triceratops. Until 2005 Albertosaurus was also mounted standing almost upright on its hind legs, with its tail touching the ground. Albertosaurus has now been remounted into a much more scientifically informed posture, still on its hind legs, but with its backbone horizontal and its tail straight out behind it to counterbalance the weight of its body and head.

The new James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and the Gallery of the Age of Mammals, open to the public on the weekend of December 15 and 16, 2007. The new galleries are located on Level 2 of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal and feature 750 different artifacts, including 50 dinosaur specimens and 60 complete or nearly complete dinosaur and mammal skeletons.