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Experience Royal Tyrrell Museum: New Attractions

On the exhibit front, visitors are invited to check out several new attractions added in recent months

• Technicians for the first time used 3D-printing to produce a specimen cast for display, in one of the most complex mounting projects the museum has ever undertaken, a re-created exploded skull of Daspletosaurus torosus. The skull is a unique disarticulated skull, where all the bones were found separately and were not crushed flat during fossilization. Living 77.3 – 75 million years ago here in Alberta, Daspletosaurus was a large tyrannosaur closely related to T. rex. The skull bones were first discovered in 2000 near the Milk River in southern Alberta, and it took until 2011 for all the pieces to be collected.

• The Palaeozoic Era exhibit reopened in July of2018 with brand new specimens to highlight the diversity of animal life 514 – 252 million years ago. To showcase a greater diversity of animal life including new specimens from the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian periods, the museum redeveloped the Palaeozoic Era exhibit. Since the majority of rocks exposed in Alberta are from the Cretaceous Period, there is a small amount of Palaeozoic Era fossils here. This exhibit contains many original fossils and casts from Alberta, other provinces, and countries to display the incredible diversity of animal life 514 – 252 million years ago.

• Regaliceratops (‘The Hellboy’) fossil, first unveiled at the museum in 2015, has now returned to a display in a new, permanent home in  Dinosaur Hall. Discovered in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this fossil, at the time, represented a new species of horned dinosaur which was named Regaliceratops peterhewsi, meaning ‘royal horned face’. This herbivor, a member of the Ceratopsidae family, differs from other known relatives in the size and shape of the horns on its face and a distinctive, crown-like frill at the back of its skull. Nicknamed “Hellboy” due to the combination of difficult excavation conditions and hardness of the rock surrounding the skull, this specimen has provided exciting new information about the evolution of horned dinosaurs.

Photo Courtesy of The Royal Tyrrell Museum

• The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s photographic exhibit known as ‘Perspectives’ reopened, featuring scientific illustrations.

• Fossils in Focus  was refreshed in October of 2018. It features a number of new discoveries providing a stronger understanding of ancient Alberta’s diversity of creatures and plants. Fossils in Focus is a rotating display changing periodically to showcase some of the tens of thousands of fossil specimens at the museum. There are fossils of rodents, bony fish, duck-billed dinosaurs, palm leaves and many other terrestrial and aquatic creatures that lived 65 million years ago in places like the Sheep River, Spirit River, Castle River and in the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch area west of Sundre. All that and much, much more.

By: Lee Hart