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Tyrannosaurs at the National Museum of Scotland

Over 165 million years ago, tyrannosaurs roamed the earth making their home in the North Hemisphere. Scientifically, they are often identified by specific anatomical features including….who am I kidding?! Run for your life!

This week we must tread very carefully as we head over to the National Museum of Scotland here in Edinburgh because they are offering a rare chance to see Tyrannosaurs in person. It will be a dangerous ‘explore and discover’ mission dear readers, but I am sure you are up to the task.

When most of us hear the word ‘tyrannosaurs’ we automatically think of Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, the latest exhibition at the National Museum highlights the diversity of the Tyrannosaurs. Are you ready to meet the family? A word of caution- in case we need to make a quick getaway- check that your shoes are tightly fastened. Now follow me as I guide you through this perilous expedition so that we can learn a little bit more about these deadly dinosaurs.

In order to conduct a true dinosaur expedition, we must walk through a time travel portal as we enter the exhibition. Watch your step- it will be a bit dark for a while. I think this is indeed going to be a challenging exploration because now that we’ve come through, I see a Guanlong here in the forest among the ferns. That means we have gone back approximately 160 million years and are in China! These meat-eating dinosaurs are the most primitive tyrannosaurs and, unlike others in the family, have long arms with three-fingered hands that are used for ripping. I, for one, don’t want to take the chance that it will catch our scent, so we must quickly make our way out of the forest. Try to keep up because we have a long journey through Asia in order to find more tyrannosaurs.

Guanlong Wucaii

We’ve now made our way into north-eastern Asia and I have word from previous explorers that have travelled this route, that this region is known for dinosaur bones. We can start digging here and see what we find.

Dilong Paradoxus

After digging for quite some time, I am pleased to report that I have found some bones and they appear to be from a Dilong. Like Guanlong, this dinosaur also had long arms and three-fingered hands. Although it was small in terms of the Tyrnannosaurs family- about 2 metres in length- it still had the characteristic powerful jaw and D-shaped front teeth (which helped it rip meat from prey). Since we have been in Asia for quite a while, we should look for another time travel portal so that we can continue our journey. I see one ahead- stay close as we will need to make sure we travel together- I don’t want anyone getting left behind in the past!

Daspletosaurus Torosus

Okay, based on our new surroundings and the nearby skeleton of a Daspletosaurus, it seems that we have now travelled to North America. However, I’m not exactly sure what time period we are in, but I do know that the Daspletosaurus lived 75 million years in the past. I’m glad we’ve only come across a skeleton of this dinosaur because his 8 metre length is quite intimidating. Let’s continue our search for more tyrannosaurs- hopefully only bones.

T. Rex lurking in the shadows

Wait! Don’t take another step. Walk very slowly and let’s hide behind these rocks. Because up ahead I think I see the shadow of the most fearsome predator of the entire Tyrannosaurs family…Tyrannosaurus Rex! You can’t miss his enormous 14 metre length. Just look at that massive jaw! They are known for their ability to bite with 15 times the force of an African lion. I’m not going to lie- I am quite nervous he will sense our presence. Perhaps if we wait a bit, he will move on. Just don’t move or make a sound.

I can safely say that T. Rex has left the area, and we can now proceed on our journey. Our best option at this point is to locate another portal. Make sure to stay close and keep an eye out in all directions. Watch where you step because I see some more bones all around us. We are now nearing the portal- stay together because this is going to be a bumpy ride.

I am not sure where we are now, but I think we should stop for a second and catch our breath. Wait a minute- I know where we are! This is George IV bridge, but let's head back to Chambers Street just outside the National Museum. We appear to be back in modern-day Edinburgh. But why is it so eerily quiet and where is everyone? Do you hear that strange sound coming from nearby? The ground is shaking below us- perhaps it is an earthquake. Move away into the middle of the street for safety!

Oh dear, this isn’t an earthquake- I think I hear dinosaurs coming. They must have followed us through the portal! I see a T. Rex apparently preoccupied with his new, foreign surroundings. What have we done?! I think we have unleashed tyrannosaurs onto the streets of Edinburgh. Is that Sawyer- the Wee Walking Tours Golden Retriever tour guide posing in front of the museum?! Sorry folks, but we are going to have to end our exploration for now so that we can get Sawyer and keep him from becoming a dinosaur’s dinner. We wish the rest of you all the best as you continue your journey home. And be careful- you never know when you might run into a tyrannosaur!

If you have enjoyed our dinosaur expedition to the National Museum of Scotland and want to visit the exhibition in person (on display until 4 May 2020)- be sure to check out the Museum’s website for all your planning details. There is also an upcoming related event that you should look into if you will be in Edinburgh on 13 March. On that day, they will be holding the ticketed event- ‘Museum Late: Jurassic Party’. The Museum has described it as a chance to “get up close with our fearsome friends and enjoy dinosaurs after dark as we celebrate our Tyrannosaurs exhibition”. This event is for 18+ year-olds and requires booking. Check the Museum’s webpage on it for more information.

Additionally, if you liked this article on the National Museum of Scotland’s latest exhibition, be sure to check out our other articles on past exhibitions- such as Wild & Majestic- and the latest permanent galleries to go on display at the Museum- East Asia and Ancient Egypt.

Finally, if you want to head out on a fun walking tour ‘expedition’ around the city of Edinburgh, you can check out our website for more information. Our Golden Retriever tour guide, Sawyer, helps to assist on these Wee Golden Walks….that is, if he was able to escape T. Rex!

Until next time- Explore & Discover!


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