The Gallery of Giants is filled with exactly that—the giant creatures that roamed Big Bend National Park during the Cretaceous (83-65 million years ago).
Life-size bronze skulls of giant alligatoroid, Deinosuchus, and Tyrannosaurus rex greet you as you enter the exhibit.
Deinosuchus is a large alligatoroid discovered by Barnum Brown in 1940. With a body as long as a school bus, this giant was a terrifying sight! Deinosuchus might have preyed on dinosaurs such as Agujaceratops and might have competed with the smaller cousin of T. rex, Teratophoneus. Several skull parts as well as a complete skull have been found at Big Bend.
The largest flying creature, Quetzalcoatlus northropi, soars over you in the exhibit below. Quetzalcoatlus is a large pterosaur that lived alongside the dinosaurs. It was likely a global flyer, like modern albatrosses, and waded in shallow water in search of delicious mollusks, like modern shorebirds. Wing bones and skull parts have been found at Big Bend.
Plant fossils found at Big Bend such as a palm leaf impression, a petrified log from a flowering tree, and a vine are also on display.
Visible from our east wall:
- Large neck bones of the long-necked sauropod, Alamosaurus were so heavy that it required using a helicopter to be transported from the field location. This was Big Bend’s first “dinosaur airlift”!
- Big Bend is one of the few public areas that contain rocks that cross the K-Pg boundary, recording the extinction of the dinosaurs! The location of these rocks is visible from the Fossil Discovery Exhibit!