This Holiday Season, celebrate the opening weekend of the first Michael Lee-Chin Crystal Galleries
The weekend of December 15 and 16, 2007 will mark the much-anticipated opening of the first two permanent galleries of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal – the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs as well as the Gallery of the Age of Mammals. Together, these awe-inspiring, light-filled new galleries occupy 1,450 sq. metres (15,600 sq. ft.), the entire Level 2 of the Lee-Chin Crystal.
The prism-shaped galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and Age of Mammals boast 5.4-metre (18-foot) high ceilings to accommodate the tallest specimens. The galleries are home to over 750 specimens, including 50 dinosaur specimens, of which 30 are complete or nearly complete skeletons, as well as 30 fossil mammal skeletons, representing the diversity of life during the Age of Dinosaurs and the Age of Mammals.
James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs:
The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs display the life of the Mesozoic Era (250 to 65 million years ago) – the Age of Dinosaurs and of much more. Divided into two general themes, Life on Land and Life in the Sea, they display fossils from the Jurassic (200 to 145 million years old) and Cretaceous (145 to 65 million years old) periods. (Triassic period fossils, 250 to 200 million years old, will be shown in another gallery to open in 2009.) Sections include Jurassic and Cretaceous life in the sea and on land, the TD Bank Financial Group Continents Adrift Exhibits, the Evolution of Birds, and a final section, K-T Extinction, discussing the events that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other life forms at the end of the Cretaceous period, which ultimately paved the way for the Age of Mammals.
Dinosaurs are the largest and most popular fossils of the Mesozoic, and are the most conspicuous elements in the galleries. The ROM’s renowned collection of Canadian dinosaurs, including several hadrosaurs, is featured in two major exhibits, along with numerous other new specimens recently acquired to increase the diversity of dinosaurs displayed. Several of the ROM’s oldest and most important authentic specimens are on display including the best and most complete specimen of the very rare and spectacular Parasaurolophus, the ROM’s most famous dinosaur, a hadrosaur known for is tubular head crest that measures over 1 m long. Accompanying the dinosaurs are hundreds of fossils representing other life forms, including other terrestrial reptiles, plants, and insects that shared the land with the dinosaurs. A greatly enlarged marine section displays fossils of marine reptiles (especially ichthyosaurs) as well as fish and numerous invertebrates, many of which provided food for the reptiles. Feature specimens include the full skeleton cast of Tyrannosaurus rex as well a real Triceratops skull. Please visit the ROM’s new Age of Dinosaurs microsite at www.rom.on.ca/dinos.
Gallery of the Age of Mammals:
The neighbouring Gallery of the Age of Mammals displays the life of the Cenozoic Era (65 million years ago to the present). This time period is commonly called the Age of Mammals, because after the extinction of the dinosaurs, the largest animals on land were mammals. Although large mammal skeleton mounts dominate the area, almost 400 fossils representing other life, including fossil plants, insects, corals, fish, turtles and smaller mammals will be on display.
The gallery is divided into various sections, including After the Dinosaurs, A World Apart, Reefs through Time, the TD Bank Financial Group Continents Adrift Exhibits, and a section on the Pleistocene epoch (most of the last two million years), the time of the Ice Ages. An exhibit on Amber, fossilized tree resin which contains natural preservatives, provides a superb window into the past by preserving insects and other delicate creatures that are otherwise rarely found as fossils.
The colourful and informative book, Breakout Dinosaurs: Canada’s Coolest Scariest Ancient Creatures - Return, written by Hugh Brewster and the curators at the ROM and illustrated by Alan Barnard, will be released this Fall 2007.