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L.A. Beat

Massive exhibit puts dinosaurs on display

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Believe it or not, about 75 million years ago, Lethbridge was a tropical paradise covered in tropical flora like ferns, fig trees, magnolias and even palm trees, over which where birds flew free and where dinosaurs like the hypacrosaurus and  other members of the hadrosaur (duck billed dinosaur) herbivore family roamed. This is the scene at the Galt Museum, where a new exhibit on southern Albertan dinosaurs opens , Saturday, Oct. 17.Wendy Aitkens shows off a mock dinosaur egg. Photo by Richard Amery
 The family focused exhibit, on loan from the Museum of Nature and Science in Sherbrooke , Quebec, is at the Galt Museum until Jan. 31.
It includes fossils and casts of fossils and plenty of interactive exhibits which examine dinosaurs  living in southern Alberta during the Cretaceous period, approximately 75 million years ago which is about 10 million years before they became extinct.
“It was much different then,” enthused Galt Museum curator Wendy Aitkens adding the exhibit examines the environmental impact as well as extinction theories and dinosaurs’ interactions with early mammals.
“There’s lots of  things for people  to explore,” she said adding there are lots of programs lined up including  guest speakers and other activities related to the exhibit as well. The exhibit also includes a section on  the process of paleontology — all of the procedures used to uncover dinosaur bones. Another part of the exhibit focuses on how dinosaurs may be related to birds.
“They’re starting to find dinosaurs with feather impressions,” Aitkens observed adding that theory has been gaining popularity recently. The exhibit is so large that it had to be split between the main hall and the classroom.
 In the classroom there is a structure designed  for children including mock up of a hadrosaur nest including  dinosaur eggs with baby dinosaurs coming out of them as well as a computer simulation of the sounds they may have made.
“They had a hollow bone on the top of their heads which they may have used to make sounds,” she observed.
“They also used to migrate from one place to another  to keep up with their food sources,” Aitkens said  of the most interesting thing she has learned from the exhibit. There are also interesting Café Galt presentations planned for the exhibit beginning Oct. 21  with Shayne Tolman who will be speaking about  the Wally’s Beach archaeological site located  at St. Mary’s Reservoir just outside of Lethbridge. On Nov. 18 Chrissy Foreman will be discussing dinosaur extinction theories. On Dec. 9 Wendy Sloboda will  discuss some of the fossils she has found, collected and prepared in Alberta.
 On Jan. 28  there will be a showing of the movie “The Lost World” and Cory Gross will discuss how how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 breakout adventure novel came alive on the big screen. Café Galts will take place at 7 p.m. each night.
 But first, there is the exhibit’s grand opening, Oct. 17 from 10-4:30 p.m. .Admission to the museum is free for the Dinosaurs and Company Exhibit, and there will be fun for all ages including fossil casting, films, face painting and a hands on fossil presentation.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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