Thursday 30 November 2023

Sauriermuseum Aathal - 2023 Update

It has been a while, hasn’t it? Not just on this blog (I have been quite busy, both with work and art), but also at the beloved Sauriermuseum Aathal, where a lot of things have been updated. If you have missed it, I have made four posts talking about the museum as of 2021. Now a lot of things have already changed again, in part because of the great migration of some of the original Howe Quarry fossils to the Zoological Museum of Zürich where I work at.

One big change is already visible at the entrance. The old Stegosaurus model that used to stand here has now been graced with a brand new Spinosaurus! What a magnificently made, short-legged croco-duck. Let us see how long it will take for it to become outdated.

In the Howe Quarry Hall not much has seemingly changed, but that is deceiving. The three skeletons of Big Al II, Barbara (Nanosaurus) and H.Q. 1 (Diplodocus) have been replaced with replicas, because this year they went on tour in Hong Kong and next year in March they will stand in the museum in Zürich.

A new exhibit (replacing the old one about dinosaur footprints) is dedicated towards fossil fish from around the world. This one was pretty great, not just because the specimens were all quite fantastic, but because it also went into the evolution of fish and the origin of tetrapods. All-around great stuff.

Now, the real reason why I returned was the new exhibit all about everyone’s favourite dinosaur, Allos… I mean, Tyrannosaurus rex. This was originally only supposed to last until the end of August, but was thankfully extended to the end of 2023, which allowed me to still see it in time. Originally, this exhibit coincided with the presentation of the skeleton Trinity at Zürich’s auction house in March. If you have been following this blog since then, you will know that said skeleton has since been sold to the Phouebus Foundation, which plans to place it in a museum in Antwerpen. But said museum is still being built, so where will Trinity stay until then? I have actually been informed by direct sources, but I am not allowed to tell (yet).


This year’s T. rex exhibit was actually too large for the museum, so it had to be built in a room in the neighbouring restaurant, which of course profited from the endeavour by renaming itself “Dino Beizli” (Beiz being Swiss-German for a bar or saloon). The centrepiece of the exhibit was the skeleton of “Rocky”, a teenage T. rex first discovered in 1998 in South Dakota. He was surrounded by skulls of others tyrannosaurs (replicas). Among them were Scotty, AMNH 5027 (aka, the one used in the Jurassic Park logo), Stan and Sue.

In addition to the skeleton of an Alioramus, there were also skulls of other tyrannosauroids, like Tarbosaurus and Albertosaurus. What will probably ruffle some feathers is that the skull of Jane (BMRP 2002.4.1) was labelled (probably correctly) as a juvenile T. rex while CMNH 7541 was presented as Nanotyrannus, without much comment as far as I can remember. Feel free to spam the comment section about this. 

Also in the room was a couch in front of a projector which played some low-budget CGI documentary about the tyrant lizard. The narrator, I was pleasantly surprised, was Otto Clemens, who some readers may also know as the narrator of the German dub of Walking with Dinosaurs and its spin-off shows. To any Anglo-Saxon readers unfamiliar with him, seriously listen to this version, Kenneth Branagh is milquetoast compared to his voice. As a little kid I always had the impression he was God himself talking about his own creations.

And with these images of T. rex paraphernalia I leave behind Novemeber. Stay tuned for another post soon, since I have some big news from my side to announce!

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