The Fossil Discovery Exhibit highlights Big Bend’s incredible fossil record. To accomplish this, the park has worked hard to display fossils and artwork that grabs your attention and is memorable. But what you don’t see at the exhibit is what goes on behind the scenes to make these displays possible. Read below to get a glimpse.
In the Gallery of Giants central exhibit room visitors can see and touch two amazing life-size bronze skulls of Deinosuchus, the hyper-giant alligatoroid, and Tyrannosaurus rex. The Deinosuchus skull is 70 inches long, 39 inches wide, and 67 inches tall. It weights approximately 1000 lbs. The T. rex skull is 56 inches long, 36 inches wide, and 68 inches tall. It also weights about 1000 lbs. These bronze skulls had to be installed in the exhibit very early on, as these heavy skulls wouldn’t fit through the fully constructed exhibit.
In every room of the Fossil Discovery Exhibit visitors can see the incredible paleoart murals by Julius Csotonyi and Alexandra Lefort. Csotonyi is a celebrated paleoartist who has a PhD in Microbiology. His scientific background helps make his art as realistic as possible.
In the Inland Floodplain exhibit room, visitors will be impressed with the size of the horned dinosaur skull, Bravoceratops, on display. This giant dinosaur was discovered in Big Bend National Park in 2013 by paleontologist Steve Wick. The skull is over 2 meters long with meter-long horns, and is not only impressive to look at, but also an important scientific specimen. As the actual fossil skull is much too fragile and important to put on display, the park worked with Gaston Design, Inc. to create an extremely realistic cast of the skull. Creating an accurate cast of a skull so big is a difficult task, which is why the experts were called in. Soon, more casts of Bravoceratops will be on display all over the world.
Opening a brand new park service exhibit requires a lot of hard work from a whole crew of people. The Resource Management division of Big Bend National Park largely drove this project, but all of the park employees contributed to the end result. Summer paleontology interns Amy Atwater and Eileah Sims worked on the Fossil Discovery Exhibit website as well as articles about the exhibit for the park newspaper, the Paisano. Their internship was sponsored by the Big Bend Conservancy and funded by the Houston Geological Society.
Amy Atwater Eileah Sims