INSPIRA Science Center in Sarpsborg, an hour’s drive from Oslo, opens its doors in July and invites visitors to experience an exhibition of the creatures that dominated the planet for nearly 160 million years. The exhibition includes the neck of a long neck, and two new tough guys named Allosaurus and Carnotaurus as well as a pair of flying lizards. Learn more about the dinosaurs which are coming to Norway this summer.
The exhibition called “Dinosauria” will contain 20 dinosaurs, real size models, moving and making noise. They are made by the reputable Mexican supplier Dinosauriosmexico and will be exhibited from July 1.
“Dinosauria” is the scientific name for dinosaurs, and derives from Ancient Greek: “Deinos”, meaning “terrible, potent or fearfully great”, and “sauros”, meaning “lizard or reptile”. Dinosaurs are among the most successful animals in the history of life on Earth. They dominated the planet for nearly 160 million years during the entire Mesozoic era, from the Triassic period 225 million years ago. It was followed by the Jurassic period and then the Cretaceous period, which ended 65 million years ago with the extinction of dinosaurs.
In addition to planning the actual dinosaur exhibition that is on its way with ships from Mexico, the INSPIRIA’s team is now working on deciding what kind of activities, performances or shows that will be included in this summer’s offer.
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Here’s a list of the creatures on display:
Period: Late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) Known locations: United States and Canada Diet: Herbivore Size: 9 m long Its name means “fused lizard”. This dinosaur lived in North America 65 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous. This is the most widely known armoured dinosaur, with a club on its tail. The final vertebrae of the tail were immobilized by overlapping the connections, turning it into a solid handle.
The tail club (or tail knob) is composed of several osteoderms fused into one unit, with two larger plates on the sides. The skull was narrow and triangular, wider than it was long. Like other Ankylosaurians, Ankylosaurus was a herbivore, its mouth having small leaf-shaped teeth, suitable for cutting vegetation. Both the bones of the skull and those of other regions of the body were fused together to increase their strength and rigidity.
Fun fact: The armor extended to the animal’s bony eyelids, acting as blinds to protect the eyes from attackers.
Period: Early Cretaceous (120 million years ago) Known locations: England Diet: Piscivore Size: 9.5 m long Its name means “heavy claw”. This dinosaur lived in England 125 million years ago during the late Cretaceous. Perhaps its most distinctive features were its long claws of almost 30 cm and its crocodile-like muzzle with many teeth.
The first Baryonyx fossil, one of its claws, was discovered in a British shale pit in January 1983 by an amateur collector. British scientists at the Natural History Museum excavated an almost complete skeleton at the site. Baryonyx’s long snout and abundant teeth suggest a piscivorous diet.
Fun fact: Baryonyx’s jaw is weak compared to other carnivorous dinosaurs, and it was found to be associated with several fish fossils, suggesting that it was rather a fish-eater.
Period: Early Cretaceous (119 million years ago) Known locations: United States Diet: Carnivore Size: 3.4 m long Its name means “terrible claw”, it belonged to the dromeosaurid family, cousin of the famous Velociraptor Mongoliensis. It was characterized by having a very curved and retractable claw of up to 13 cm on each leg, which was used to tear into the flesh of its prey. Its tail, supported by ossified and elongated tendons, was very useful as it helped keep its balance while running, preventing it from bending and falling.
The discovery of this fossil in 1964 altered the previous conception of dinosaurs, from clumsy animals to agile hunters. Thanks to the fact that remains of the herbivore Tenontosaurus have been located along with teeth of Deinonychus in several places, it is now known that the latter hunted other dinosaurs in packs.
Fun fact: Other species of the Dromeosaurid family found in China have shown the presence of feathers, suggesting that this group is related to the birds we know today.
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Period: Early Cretaceous (119 million years ago) Known locations: United States Diet: Carnivore Size: 3.4 m long When paleontologists find dinosaur remains, the skeleton is usually fossilized, since the soft tissue (muscles, internal organs, etc.) is rapidly disintegrated by organisms in charge of decomposing it (bacteria, worms, and fungi). Therefore, the main reference tool is the comparative anatomy, which allows to recreate how the animal’s body was and what its possible movements were.
Fun fact: Biomechanics is the branch of biology that studies and analyzes how animals move, based on the shape of their bones, which is very necessary when building dinosaur robots.
Period: Early Jurassic (190 million years ago) Known locations: United States Diet: Carnivore Size: 6 m long Its name means “two-crested lizard”. It was first described in 1954 by Sam Wells as belonging to the genus Megalosaurus, but it was not until almost a decade later that it was re-evaluated and reassigned to the new genus Dilophosaurus. Its most prominent feature were the plate-shaped crests on its skull, which may have served as a visual display for attracting a mate. It is believed in popular culture that these crests could spit venom, but this function has not been proven in any dinosaur.
Fun fact: The shape and fragility of the skull and teeth leads one to believe that it possibly fed on carrion. However, this type of teeth would break when attempting to hunt and catch prey.
Period: Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago) Known locations: Canada, United States and Mexico Diet: Omnivore Size: 4 m long Belonging to the group of the so-called “bird imitators”, these ostrich-like dinosaurs have many features in common with today’s great running birds, but unlike the ostrich, the Ornithomimus velox had a long tail that gave stability when running. Its neck was very flexible, it could be stretched like a spring to catch some food. The presence of this genus has been recorded in Coahuila and Baja California.
Fun fact: The shape of its skeleton suggests that this dinosaur could have reached great speeds when running.
Period: Late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) Known locations: United States and Canada Diet: Herbivore Size: 10 m Its name means “near crested lizard”. This dinosaur lived in North America 76 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous.
Parasaurolophus could have weighed over two tons. It is known for its large cranial crest, which forms an elongated, curved structure longer than the entire skull. Like other hadrosaurs, it is possible that it walked on both two and four legs. It would probably stand on all fours to search for food but would move on two legs. The skin imprints that are known in Parasaurolophus show a uniform structure of tubercle-like scales, but without any special features.
Fun fact: Inside the crest are two hollow tubes that run from the end to the front of the crest. These tubes may have produced low frequency sounds that traveled over long distances which could have served to communicate with other members of the pack.
Period: Late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) Known locations: United States Diet: Piscivore Size: 9 m wingspan It is one of the best-known Pterosaurs due to the large number of fossils that have been discovered, about 1,200 specimens have been identified by science, many of them well preserved with skulls and complete skeletons.
The name of this animal means “toothless wing”, as it had no teeth in its beaks. The most distinctive feature of the Pteranodon is its backward crest, which varied in size and shape depending on age, sex and species.
Fun fact: Contrary to popular belief, the Pterosaurs were not dinosaurs; they belonged to the group of flying reptiles.
Period: Late Jurassic (150 million years ago) Known locations: United States Diet: Herbivore Size: 7 m long Its name translates to “roof lizard”, as it had several bone plates on its back, alternating in alignment. In addition of serving as protection, the plates had thermoregulatory and display functions.
The bony spikes on its tail were used for defense against predators, which was necessary as the Stegosaurus coexisted with carnivorous dinosaurs such as the Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus. Marks found on a fossil skull indicate that it had cheeks to keep food in its mouth while chewing.
Fun fact: Despite the large size of the Stegosaurus, its brain cavity was no larger than that of a dog, although this does not mean that it was not intelligent.
Megapnosaurus kayentakatae (Syntarsus)
Period: Early Jurassic (200 million years ago) Known locations: South Africa, United States and Mexico Diet: Carnivore Size: 2 – 3 m Megapnosaurus (“big dead lizard”) is a genus represented by two species of cellophysid theropod dinosaurs, which lived in the early Jurassic period, approximately 200 and 190 million years ago, in what is now Africa and North America. It possibly fed on prosaurpodes, small mammals and small lizards. About 46 individuals were found in South Africa including juveniles and adults.
This dinosaur was classified by a skeleton found in 1963 in Zimbabwe. Another species was found in 1977 in the United States which had a bone crest, something that the Mexican specimen may also have had. Recent studies have determined that there was a sexual difference in this type of dinosaur between males and females due to the robustness of their bones. The oldest dinosaur remains in Mexico from the Mid-Jurassic period belong to this species and come from the La Boca Formation, in the Huizachal Canyon of Tamaulipas, in the northeast of Mexico.
Fun fact: Its original name was Syntarsus but this was already assigned to a beetle, so it had to be changed to Megapnosaurus.
Period: Late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) Known locations: United States Diet: Herbivore Size: 9 m long This dinosaur belonged to a group of herbivores better known as “horned dinosaurs”, which lived during the Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago) in North America. It is estimated to have reached about 9m in length. It was characterized by a bony neck frill (a type of body armour) and three horns.
The frill was thought to serve as an armor to protect itself, however, the presence of veins in it suggests that it could have served as a display feature to attract the attention of females with its bright red color.
Fun fact: It is now believed that the Triceratops also includes the specimens previously assigned with the name of Torosaurus, only that the latter were old individuals of Triceratops.
Period: Late Cretaceous (68 million years ago) Known locations: United States and Canada Diet: Herbivore Size: 2 m long Its name means “face with three horns.” It is now known that this dinosaur lived in herds, as the remains of three juveniles were found together in Hell Creek, Montana. It is thought to be one of the most common dinosaurs towards the end of the Late Cretaceous.
The horns in adults could measure up to 90 cm long, and these developed gradually with age, as can be deduced from a young Triceratops specimen found in Montana.
Fun fact: In the United States, traces of a family of Ceratopsids were found in which the remains of the juveniles were at the center and those of the adults were surrounding in a protective position.
Period: Late Cretaceous (68 million years ago) Known locations: United States and Canada Diet: Carnivore Size: 11 m long At the end of the Cretaceous, the theropod Tyrannosaurus Rex emerged, a large carnivorous dinosaur that could measure up to 11 m long and reach a hip height of approximately 5 m.
This dinosaur is famous for having a very large skull in proportion to its total body size, and small front extremities (arms) with two fingers. Its skull had two large cavities that helped make it lighter. Its powerful jaws had sharp, curved teeth that could measure up to 18 cm in length. Its remains have been found in Canada and the United States. Only some teeth of smaller cousins like the Gorgosaurus have been found in Mexico.
Fun fact: The position of the eyes in the skull was like that of modern birds of prey, which allowed it to be a skilled hunter, it is also suggested that it had a developed sense of smell like that of scavengers, so it probably was both a hunter and a scavenger.
Tyrannosaurus rex (juvenile)
Period: Late Cretaceous (68 million years ago) Known locations: United States and Canada Diet: Carnivore Size: 4 to 6 m long After hatching, baby Tyrannosaurs were equipped with feathers, which they lost gradually as they grew up. Several juvenile specimens belonging to Tyrannosaurus rex have been found, so there is enough information about the life these animals had, as well as the changes they suffered during their life.
It is known that they reached adult size (age) from approximately 18 years of age and could live up to 30 years; this information was calculated with “Sue”, the largest Tyrannosaurus on record.
Fun fact: It is known that these animals were scavengers because of the thickness of their teeth, their enhanced sense of smell (they had very large olfactory bulbs) and their poor ability to run (same femur and tibia size).
Tyrannosaurus rex (nest)
Period: Late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) Known locations: United States and Canada No Tyrannosaurus rex eggs have ever been found; however, we know that they probably measured up to 50 cm and had a certain incubation time of approximately 30 days. This information was obtained thanks to the similarity they had with a close cousin, the Tarbosaurus, of which fossil material has been found in Asia.
Hatchlings were already born with teeth to be able to eat meat; and it is possible that the parents were responsible for feeding them. This fact is evidenced by the discovery of fossils of adults close to their hatchlings.
Fun fact: It is believed that newborn Tyrannosaurus rex had a similar plumage to that of hatched chickens and lost this protective coat as they grew.
INSPIRIA science center in Sarpsborg is a regional science center where visitors can experience, explore and learn about the world of science. Every year, thousands of visitors come from all over the world to take part in what the center describes as “fun with meaning”. In addition, INSPIRIA promotes science joy through unique school deliveries across the county, and coordinates and implements national education projects. INSPIRIA is also an attractive meeting place for both the business community and the public sector.
The Dinosaurs are Coming to Norway This Summer, source INSPIRIA
All images © INSPIRIA, except
feature image (on top) photo by: Stephen Leonardi / Unsplash