Canada

Barosaurus is star attraction of new dinosaur galleries

Canada's largest dinosaur skeleton is now on display after being tucked away and forgotten in the basement of the Royal Ontario Museum for 45 years.

Canada's largest dinosaur skeleton is now on display after being tucked away and forgotten in the basement of the Royal Ontario Museum for 45 years.

Thebarosaurus, nicknamed Gordo, is thekey attraction at the Toronto museum'snewly renovated dinosaur galleries, which opened Saturday.

The boneshadbeen storedbut not properly catalogued until ROMcurator David Evans found reference to their location in a recently published article hestumbled upon inUtah.

The discovery came as he was doingresearch ahead ofa planned trip toWyoming, where his team plannedtoinvestigate the possibilityof digging up a barosaurus.

"Quite ironically, we were searching for one of these [bones] to fill a gap in our exhibit and we didn't think we had one here, so as I was trying to track one down I read an article, and it led me right back here to my very own collection," he told CBC News.

"It was an absolute eureka moment," Evans said. "It said what I was looking for was right back here" at the ROM.

When he returned from the trip, he started poking around in the museum'spaleontology collections and foundthe lower end of a barosaurus arm bone in one drawer.

"Theother end of the arm bone was actually scattered another 50 feet away on another shelf," he said. "I remember bringing over that one pieceof arm bone and seeing another half of an arm bone and taking that one end and putting it on, and it fit perfectly, likea jigsaw puzzle."

What he initiallythought were isolated,random bones from different dinosaurs turned out to be a "strikingly good chunk" — or about 40 per cent — of a single barosaurus skeleton, Evans said.

It turns out that the pieces were dispersed around the collections room due to various moves.

Theplant-eating dinosaurmeasured27 metres in lengthand weighed 15 tonnes.Ithad a small head, massive body andwhip-like tail. Scientists believeit lived about 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period.

"This is the only real sauropod skeleton to be mounted in Canada, the largest dinosaur skeleton on display in Canada, and the only real fossil barosaurus mounted in the world," the ROM says on its website.

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