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Museum hopes to bring Bisti Beast home to NM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science has launched a $120,000 fundraising campaign to bring New Mexico’s Bisti Beast home in what it calls “a new life-size electrifying form.”

Museum officials are seeking to raise enough money to buy a robotic, animated Bisti Beast from its Japanese creators to become a key attraction at the museum.

An early relative of Tyrannosaurus rex, the Bisti Beast fossil was discovered in 1997 and excavated in 1998 from the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness in the Four Corners area by museum paleontologist Dr. Thomas Williamson, Ph.D., according to a news release.

Williamson with Thomas Carr wrote a paper in 2010 that described the find and named it the Bisti Beast (Bistahieversor).

The research caught the attention of researchers at the Fukui Prefectory Museum in Fukui, Japan, and representatives who were eager to acquire some fossils for a temporary exhibition and eventually discovered among them the Bisti Beast.

The exhibition traveled to Fukui, Nagoya and Chiba City/Tokyo, and was visited by officials with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

At the first venue, “there before our eyes was a living, breathing Bisti Beast robotic dinosaur inspired by the Bistahieversor discovery. The curators in Japan worked with the company Kokoro Company Ltd. to create a mesmerizing, life-size reconstruction of our own dinosaur that left me speechless,” Williamson said.

“In fact, we found that many New Mexico discoveries were featured prominently in the exhibition,” he said in a statement.

“This is New Mexico’s very own Tyrannosaurus rex, and our kids need to see it and learn about it,” said New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales.

The New Mexico Natural History Museum Foundation has launched a GoFundMe page seeking $120,000 to bring the robotic dinosaur to New Mexico. The page is at www.gofundme.com/bisti.

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