San Francisco is gearing up for a major new exhibition that is already turning heads. The World’s Largest Dinosaurs is dedicated to the biology of long-necked and long-tailed sauropods, the biggest dinosaurs ever to walk the earth.
The exhibition features imaginative exhibits, life-size models, and exciting interactive elements that are enjoyable for both kids and adults. It’ll be on view from May 26, 2023-January 21, 2024 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
The unique and large-scale exhibition is organized by New York’s American Museum of Natural History, drawing from a new era of paleo-biological research. This showcase is focused on the biology of sauropods, which is a group of enormous dinosaurs with long necks and tails measuring up to 140 feet long and weighing up to 90 tons.
Guests will learn about how sauropods actually lived and functioned on Earth for about 140 million years with exhibits that go beyond the bones; that is, with special attention to metabolic functions including heart rate, respiration and reproduction.
The exhibition is broken into an assortment of content sections that explore every aspect of the biology of these magnificent animals. Visitors can compare the anatomy of differently-sized animals both living and extinct; learn about sauropods’ small brains, “fermentation tank” digestive systems, long necks, and massive hearts; discover how hatchling sauropods grew from 11 pounds to 55 tons over their lifetimes; and learn about how scientists make inferences about sauropods’ skin using fossilized impressions.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Meet Mamenchisaurus, a 60-foot-long life-size Mamenchisaurus. Dynamic videos are projected onto the body of the model to depict its digestive, circulatory, and respiratory systems.
As for interactive elements, guests can use a hand pump to calculate the speed and pressure required to pump 630 quarts of blood through a sauropod’s body; or “feed” a hungry sauropod its 100,000 calorie diet.
The World’s Largest Dinosaurs is curated by Mark Norell, Curator Emeritus of the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology; in collaboration with guest co-curator Martin Sander from the University of Bonn in Germany. Norell and Sander use research about dinosaurs’ modern relatives including birds and crocodiles in order to make inferences about how sauropods lived and functioned.
“This exhibition represents a new era of dinosaur research that leverages recent advances in technology and the expertise of multiple scientific disciplines to understand how the largest animals to ever roam the earth actually lived,” said Norell. “It demonstrates how our understanding of these enormous creatures continually evolves and changes in response to new science.”