Dr. David Evans is an Associate Curator in the ROM’s Vertebrate Paleontology department. Upon assuming the job in May, he was assigned the task of finding a flagship sauropod specimen to display in the museum’s upcoming exhibit (opening December 15) within the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. Little did Evans know that he didn’t have far to look.
While on a scouting trip to Wyoming, the bone buff came across an article by noted sauropod expert Jack McIntosh, which strangely referred to a rare Barosaurus skeleton owned by the ROM. With no such artifact listed in the museum’s database, Evans began to piece together information, eventually discovering that isolated bones scattered throughout the ROM belonged to a single Barosaurus, forming about 45% of a skeleton—the second most complete Barosaurus relic in the world.
The 24-metre long specimen was obtained in 1962 from what is now Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, and was forgotten about after it was revealed to be too large for the museum’s available exhibit space (sauropods were the largest animals to ever walk on land). Due to renovation in the 1980s, the skeleton was scattered amongst different exhibits and preserved in collection room drawers.
The Barosaurus lived during the Jurassic Period 150 million years ago, ate only plants, and weighed a staggering 15,000 kilograms. When erected, the 1,000-piece Barosaurus skeleton will be the largest dinosaur specimen on permanent display in Canada. The ROM already owns excellent specimens of the highly recognizable Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus. Unfortunately, the Barosaurus skeleton—one of only six known to exist—lacks a head, which will eventually be cast in polyurethane.
In tribute to late ROM curator Dr. Gordon Edmund, who originally acquired the skeleton with the intention of installing it into a 1970 exhibit, the Barosaurus has been nicknamed “Gordo” by the curators. Gordo is also Spanish for “fat,” which the museum sees as fitting for an animal its size.
Image via Wikipedia.