Bringing dinosaur bones to life

Bringing dinosaur bones to life
DELICATE WORK: (Left)Workers using a scissor lift to assemble the spine of the dinosaur.

How do you transport a replica dinosaur skeleton that is as long as four buses and as tall as a three-storey shopping mall?

The answer, it seems, is piece by piece.

For three nights, a team of 10 from the Science Centre Singapore spent about 16 hours putting together about 200 replica bones of an Argentinosaurus in the atrium of Plaza Singapura mall.

Measuring 37m by 7m, the skeleton is one of the world's largest dinosaur exhibits and the largest ever in a shopping mall here.

It is part of "Dinosaurize Me!", a two-week exhibition jointly held by Science Centre Singapore and Plaza Singapura, which aims to make learning about dinosaurs fun and accessible.

The exhibition, which opened last Friday and will be on till June 14, also features dinosaur-themed art workshops, science shows and a digging pit with hidden fossils for budding paleontologists.

Mr Daniel Tan, 47, senior director of projects and exhibitions at the Science Centre Singapore, told The New Paper that in his 10 years in the field, he has never assembled such a large exhibit in a shopping mall.

It was not an easy process, he said.

One challenge was that the team could not use their usual equipment, such as cranes, because they were too big to bring into the mall. Instead, they used scissor lifts to move and assemble the bigger pieces.

Metal rods were used to connect the pieces.

Given the space constraints in the mall, the team also had to improvise ways to assemble the exhibit.

Mr Tan said adjustments had to be made to the original drawing plans after the team arrived at the location.

LOWER HEIGHT

He said: "We had to make many adjustments to the dinosaur's position, such as moving it slightly forward, due to the low infrastructure in the shopping mall."

Mr Tan said the team worked at night when the mall was empty and managed to finish in three nights, instead of the estimated five.

"It was a successful set-up," he said."I am happy to see the plan come to fruition."

The Argentinosaurus exhibit, which originated from Argentina, has been displayed in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Mr Tan said: "It's the last thing you would expect in a shopping mall. I believe the exhibit will reach out to a wide audience."

Among the largest known dinosaurs, the Argentinosaurus holds the record for being the heaviest land animal ever, and the longest. It is a herbivore that, as its name suggests, lived in Argentina between 94 and 97 million years ago.

He hopes the exhibition will especially spark curiosity in the younger generation.

Said Mr Tan: "I want them to get excited and inspired. Then, they will try to find out more about the dinosaur on their own."

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

WHAT: "DINOSAURIZE ME!"

WHERE: MAIN ATRIUM, LEVEL 1, PLAZA SINGAPURA

WHEN: FROM NOW TILL JUNE 14, 11AM TO 8PM DAILY

Admission is free. For more information on the workshops and activities, go to

http://www.plazasingapura.com.sg


This article was first published on June 05, 2015.
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