By Robert A. Mills
Dinosaurs rule at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science. And the roaring, slashing, chomping monsters of the “Dinosaurs Unearthed” exhibit have undergone major renovation.
In addition to sensor-activated roars, the animatronic models received some cosmetic makeovers.
Designers developed the new models based on recent discoveries by paleontologists, said Lawrence Hall Communications Director Janet Noe.
“There are a few that have feathers and fur which is sort of a recent finding – that not all dinosaurs were necessarily cold-blooded,” Noe said. “They didn’t all just have scales.”
One dinosaur — Deinonychus or ‘Terrible Claw’ — boasts five-inch talons, feathered elbows and a bear-like fur. A juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex is covered in a thick, downy coat. New skin tones come complete with new roars.
“These dinosaurs all have sounds that are based on what scientists think they might have actually sounded like,” Noe said. “Some of them sound cat-like, some of them are bird-like, and then some are your more classic dinosaur sound.”
The adult Tyrannosaurus rex’s immense size and booming sounds make it a crowd pleaser among visiting youth. “It’s massive,” Noe said. “It’s so big, we had to put it outside. The kids will go out and, when it roars, you get these amazing reactions.”
According to six-year-old Edward Agnew, the giant dinosaur is as massive as it is cool. His friend, Zayden Greene, also six, agreed. “They’re awesome,” he said. “Kids should come see them because they’re cool. There’s a lot you can learn about them.”
“Dinosaurs Unearthed” is at the Lawrence Hall of Science on Centennial Drive through January 1.
Robert A. Mills is a graduate student studying interactive journalism at The Reynolds School of Journalism at The University of Nevada, Reno. He is currently interning at Berkeleyside.