I'm a museum educator with an eye for paleontology, science history, animals and the occasional bit of pop culture nonsense. Anything too silly for my real blog ends up here.Questions, Comments, Complaints
leviarex asked: You ever seen 'Land Of The Lost' (either 70's or 90's)?
Bits and pieces…should I watch more? I know I saw the Will Ferrell movie at some point, but I remember absolutely nothing.
Taxon: Brachiosaurus altithorax
Specimen Number: FMNH P25107
Year Created: 1993
Dimensions: 70 ft long, 42 ft high
The holotype of Brachiosaurus altithorax was discovered by Field Museum paleontologist Elmer Riggs and his crew in 1900 near Fruita, Colorado. Consisting of two partial limbs and much of the torso, the unarticulated fossils soon found their way into display cases at the Field Museum. Very few confirmed Brachiosaurus remains have been found in North America since then, but in 1914 German paleontologist Werner Janensch recovered several partial skeletons in Tanzania, which he considered a second species of Brachiosaurus. Being much more complete, the Tanzanian “Brachiosaurus” brancai (now called Giraffatitan brancai) remains were the model for all reconstructions of the genus for the better part of the next century. However, a recent re-evaluation of both sets of fossils has revealed that the Colorado and Tanzania sauropods were actually quite different from one another.
The Brachiosaurus mount at the Field Museum is meant to represent B. altithorax, but most of the mount was sculpted based on sketches and photographs of the Tanzanian fossils. Casts of the Brachiosaurus holotype were incorporated where possible, distinguished by a slightly different color and texture. The six-month project was undertaken by Gilles Danis of Prehistoric Animal Structures, Inc., and was until recently the largest dinosaur mount in North America. By lucky accident, the mount was completed in 1993 just a couple weeks after the opening of Jurassic Park, which prominently featured Brachiosaurus.
The Brachiosaurus mount was replaced in the Field Museum’s Stanley Field Hall in 2000 by Sue the Tyrannosaurus. The original mount was “given” to United Airlines (after a significant donation to the Museum) and now resides at O’Hare Airport. A bronze copy of the skeleton was placed outside the Field Museum entrance shortly afterward.