JOHNSON CITY (Posted Oct. 10, 2012) – A rare look at the life of dinosaurs through their eggs, nests and embryos is now available at the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site.
“Hatching the Past: Dinosaur Eggs, Nests and Young,” a traveling multimedia exhibit, is now on display at the museum, which is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The exhibition offers a wide array of authentic dinosaur eggs and nests collected from all over the globe, including those of each of the major plant- and meat-eating dinosaur groups.
Although dinosaur eggs were first identified in the 1920s, their scientific significance was not fully appreciated until the end of the 20th century. Today, dinosaur eggs are recognized for their enormous scientific value and for offering details and fresh insights into the behavior, growth and evolution of dinosaurs.
“Hatching the Past” presents new discoveries about dinosaur reproduction and behavior and introduces some of the people and science behind these discoveries. It helps give credence to long-debated theories that dinosaurs and birds are closely related.
The exhibit invites visitors to touch real dinosaur bones and reconstructed nests – one more than eight feet in diameter – as well as dig for eggs, experience hands-on exploration stations and view animated video presentations featuring well-known dinosaur experts. Each science-rich section is enhanced with lifelike models of embryos and hatchlings, colorful illustrations of dinosaur family life, and photographs of some of the world’s most renowned dinosaur hunters and their discoveries.
The collection of real fossils includes an authentic, bowling ball-sized egg of a sauropod from Argentina; a large cluster of eggs laid by a duck-billed, plant-eating dinosaur; and the longest dinosaur eggs ever discovered – almost 18 inches long – laid by a new giant species of oviraptor, a carnivorous, ostrich-like dinosaur.
A central feature of the exhibit is “Baby Louie,” the nearly complete skeleton of a dinosaur embryo with its bones aligned in the proper position. Charlie Magovern made this exceptional and rare discovery in 1993 when he was carefully cleaning a large block of eggs from China. He nicknamed the embryo after National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos. Visitors can also view an animated DVD presentation about the discovery of “Baby Louie.”
“Hatching the Past” was developed by Charlie and Florence Magovern of The Stone Co., Boulder, Colo., in association with the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The Magoverns gained national recognition when their work was featured as the cover story in the May 1996 issue of National Geographic magazine.
“Hatching the Past” is sponsored locally by Dex.
General admission to the museum is $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-12; “Hatching the Past” tickets are $6 for children and $9 for adults. Discounts are available for seniors, veterans, active military and reservists, students, and ETSU faculty and staff. For more information, call toll-free (866)202-6223 or visit www.etsu.edu/naturalhistorymuseum.