Viva Maximo! The Field Museum’s Titanosaurus

2018 was a banner year for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Just as their iconic T-Rex, Sue, was dismantled and relocated upstairs in a more complete representation, they also welcomed the addition of some stunning Pterosaurs and a gigantic Titanosaur. Maximo has now secured his position as the king of Stanley Field Hall and definitely worth making a special trip to see…especially if you plan it on or after December 21st after Sue makes her dramatic return.

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Quetzalcoatlus Lands at the Field Museum of Natural History!

Maximo isn’t the only new, permanent feature at Chicago’s Field Museum. The immense Titanosaur brought along a few flying reptiles to further engage us until the return of our favorite T-Rex, Sue. Of course, Pterosaurs aren’t new to this museum and even before the big changes a pteranodon hovered over Stanley Field Hall; directing guests to the “Evolving Planet” exhibit upstairs. That model, however, has been dwarfed by its replacement – a life-sized, flying Quetzalcoatlus!

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Antarctic Dinosaurs Give Chicago the Chills!

While Chicago’s beloved Tyrannosaurus Rex, Sue, prepares for her illustrious return next spring, the Field Museum of Natural History has gone above and beyond making sure us dinosaur fans stay committed. It began with the arrival of “Maximo,” a full-size cast of Patagotitan mayorum – the largest land animal ever discovered. Old Max has done a stellar job filling the spot once occupied by Sue in the museum’s immense Stanley Field Hall. He’s joined by some amazing flying reptiles (which I’ll be covering soon) and a special, temporary exhibit called “Antarctic Dinosaurs.” This often overlooked region for dinosaur discovery has produced some incredible finds, including prehistoric animals exclusive to the region. This exhibit not only highlights those creatures but the brave men and women who helped bring them to light – including some who paid with their lives.  

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Illinois’ Dryptosaurus Stalks Lake County Museum

Due to erosion, fossils from the Mesozoic Era are largely missing from my native Illinois. Despite no dinosaur discoveries, Paleontologists are still pretty sure they were here – reinforced by species of the same dinos found above and below us. One of these is a theropod called Dryptosaurus; a dinosaur I’d never heard of until last week after receiving my monthly newsletter from national horror host, Svengoolie. In it, the man who designed a gorgeous replica of the animal was posing next to it at a museum I’d never heard of despite being just an hour north of me. It was time for another Prehistoric Pit Stop…

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A Prehistoric Pit Stop at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research!

Last August, I took my kids on a South Dakota road trip while making some prehistoric pit stops along the way. At the top of the list was the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research which I’ve wanted to visit for some time. T-Rex enthusiasts know these are the folks who excavated “Sue” and “Stan” and are renowned for their marvelous replicas. To be in “dinosaur country” was particularly exhilarating for a Chicago guy like me, and I was downright giddy when we pulled into the museum’s lot that gorgeous summer evening. We would not be disappointed.

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Buzzsaw Sharks at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science!

Continuing on with my 2016 visit to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, I should mention what drew me there in the first place. I was in the midst of a two week/3,000 mile southwest road trip and looking for things to do while passing through Albuquerque. What caught my attention was the museum featuring the traveling exhibit, “Buzzsaw Sharks from Long Ago” featuring one of the strangest members of the shark family tree, Helicoprions. These fish are notable for their unusual mouths with spiral clusters of teeth called “whorls.” For this reason, the extinct family of fish is commonly referred to as “buzzsaw sharks.”

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T-Rex “Stan” at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science!

While traveling through the Southwest in 2016, I stopped off at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque. The purpose was to see their traveling Buzzsaw Sharks of Long Ago exhibit currently featured at the University of Texas in Austin. It featured Helicoprion fossils as well some fantastic life-size sculptures and over twenty original works of art courtesy of Ray Troll. Though it was ancient sharks that originally drew me to this Prehistoric Pit Stop, they had a pretty nice fossil collection of their own, including yet another cast of Tyrannosaurus Rex, “Stan.”

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