The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Dinosaur Display Roars in Raleigh

RALEIGH - Two weeks before a wide variety of animals arrive for the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh, replicas of creatures from the past already are settled in at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. But while the bevy of bovines at the fair will be content to munch on hay, the museum's featured creatures would have rather had a cow than the cud. The museum previewed "The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park: The Lost World," a traveling exhibit that will make Raleigh its home until Jan. 15, to nearly 20 members of the press Monday. The exhibit will open to the public Friday at 5 p.m. The show includes dinosaur fossils from around the world, as well as props from the sets of the popular movies "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World." A yellow Ford, a poison-spitting dinosaur and scenes from the movie "Jurassic Park" greet visitors at the entrance. Paleontologist Don Lessem, who also was a scientific adviser for Steven Spielberg's dinosaur films, coordinated the event with officials from Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment. Spielberg directed both "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World." Lessem said Hollywood has a way of making its characters appear bigger than they actually are. "Dinosaurs in movies are often larger than in real life," he said, while standing in front of the Argentinosaurus vertebra, which weighs two tons and is more than 4-feet wide. "I think (the film producers) took a lot of liberties, but on the other hand, it's the best account we have of dinosaurs," he said. Besides skeletons, the exhibit also features exhibits, like fossilized dinosaur eggs and "poop," for children to touch. Lessem said the exhibit is interesting for kids because it allows them to learn interactively, not just by looking at the fossils. "We want this to be not just a visual experience for kids, but a hands-on one," he said. Touch-sensitive screens throughout the exhibit reveal interesting facts about the animals. Museum Director Betsy Bennett said the exhibit also allows visitors to view dinosaurs from around the world, including Argentina and China. Bennett said it complements the museum's permanent collection of dinosaur fossils from North Carolina. Visitors on Friday night will have the chance to form their own opinions about the accuracy of the movie. A special grand opening will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, allowing visitors to view the exhibit. At 8 p.m. there will be a free DVD showing of "Jurassic Park" in the museum's auditorium. Michael Crichton, author of "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World," the books that spawned Spielberg's movies, also will appear at the museum Nov. 14 to reveal a development in international paleontology. Public Relations Director Karen Kemp said the museum is expecting a large attendance for the exhibit, which already has been shown in Cleveland and San Diego. "We're hoping to get 100,000 or more visitors." The State & National Editor can be reached at


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