S'pore should cut open its dinosaurs, says renowned expert

S'pore should cut open its dinosaurs, says renowned expert
Palaeontologist Jack Horner with a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, part of the Titans Of The Past - Dinosaurs And Ice Age Mammals exhibition.

The world's most famous palaeontologist thinks Singapore should cut up the three prized dinosaurs that will be the star attractions of the new natural history museum opening next year.

That is the only way to glean any scientifically significant data to advance the study and knowledge of these prehistoric animals, he argues.

"I bet I can convince them that they should," he told The Sunday Times. "There is more information inside than there is outside. And if they don't cut it, they won't be able to do more than what anyone else has done."

It's a controversial idea that sounds like a horror story to any museum with a real dinosaur in its collection - slicing into the bones of these rare, million-year-old specimens that most would think ought to be encased like the Mona Lisa.

But palaeontologist Jack Horner, who discovered his first dinosaur fossil at the age of eight, insists the bones can be cut and put together again and nobody would know they had been taken apart.

Every single dinosaur bone that he exhibits at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana - and he has thousands in his collection - has been sliced open and put back together again.

It is only by looking into the fossils that scientists learn about how fast these animals grew, at what age they died, and what they ate.

They have also found that birds are actually dinosaurs, and that the prehistoric creatures might in fact have been warm-blooded.

A superstar in palaeontology circles, the 67-year-old Mr Horner has amassed the largest collection of North American dinosaur fossils at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana State University, where he has been curating, teaching and researching on dinosaur growth and behaviour.

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