JOURNAL STAFF REPORT
Life-sized New Mexico dinosaurs and other extinct reptiles attracted huge crowds in Japan – almost 600,000 visitors – during a monthslong, three-city tour of the nation.
“The Japanese we worked with combined cutting-edge robotics technology to create a mesmerizing, life-size reconstruction of the New Mexico dinosaur Bistahieversor that left me speechless,” said Thomas Williamson, museum curator for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, in a news release.
Working with the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science loaned seven paleontological specimens and three casts to the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum as part of a traveling exhibition that ended in September at a museum outside of Tokyo.
The Great Journey of Dinosaurs exhibition first appeared at the Fukui Prefectural Museum, Fukui, Japan, starting in July for a 95-day showing.
Specimens loaned for the exhibition include Late Triassic – about 220 million years old – fossils, such as bones and casts of the early dinosaur and New Mexico state fossil, Coelophysis; a nearly complete skeleton of the armored reptile Typothorax; and the skulls of two crocodile-like phytosaurs.
The museum also loaned a partial skull of the Late Cretaceous – about 74 million years old – horned dinosaur Pentaceratops.
The exhibit also showed in Nagoya, the fourth-largest city in Japan, for 60 days at the Nagoya City Science Museum, Aichi Prefecture.
The Nagoya City Science Museum show featured materials from the Albuquerque museum, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing, and the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, along with collections from the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, which produced the exhibition.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Director Margie Marino and Williamson traveled to the opening of the exhibition in both Fukui and Nagoya to join in the ribbon-cutting and celebration, as well as to ensure the safety of the collection as it was packed and moved from place to place.
The third and final exhibition closed in September at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center, Chiba City, Tokyo.
“These New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science collections have been safely packed up and shipped home after being seen by hundreds of thousands of people, and adds to the Museum’s prestige and impact,” Marino said in a statement. “And the Japanese have expressed a great willingness to continue to work with this Museum.”
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Opening day of the “A Great Journey of Dinosaurs” exhibit at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Fukui, Japan, in July in front of the animatronics Bistahieversor sealeyi, a tyrannosaur dinosaur known only from New Mexico.
Ribbon cutting ceremony with New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Executive Director, Margie Marino at the opening of the “A Great Journey of Dinosaurs” exhibit at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Fukui, Japan in July.
Technicians at the Nagoya Science Center, Japan, unpack a fossil from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science on display in preparation for the opening of “A Great Journey of Dinosaurs” exhibit.