Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs
One of two halls in the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing, the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs displays fossils from one of the two major groups of dinosaurs. Saurischians are characterized by grasping hands, in which the thumb is offset from the other fingers. This hall features the imposing mounts of Tyrannosaurus rex and Apatosaurus.
Branching off the main line are alcoves containing smaller groups of dinosaurs within the saurischian family: theropods, marked by a three-toed foot; tetanurans, which have a three-fingered hand; and finally, coelurosaurs, a group of saurischian dinosaurs with relatively long arms. This group includes maniraptors, whose evolutionary branch extends to birds—the only group of dinosaurs alive today.
In a corridor leading to this hall, video footage and archival photographs explore the history of paleontology at the Museum from the first fossil expedition in 1891 to the present day. On display are a Diplodocus pelvis found in 1897, the first fossil dinosaur specimen collected by Museum researchers; mock-ups of a preparation lab and a fossil site in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert; and a cast of the fossilized remains of a nesting oviraptorid female, found in Mongolia in 1994, which confirmed that some dinosaurs incubated their eggs like modern birds.
Allosaurus is shown feeding on a carcass with bones marked by grooves, possibly from the teeth or claws of the 140-million-year-old predator. Allosaurus teeth found nearby inspired the idea for the mount.
The Museum's Apatosaurus, collected in the late 1890s, was the first sauropod dinosaur ever mounted. Museum preparators labored over the specimen for years before it went on view in 1905. It has been a focal point of the collection ever since.
Museum explorers uncovered these Coelophysis specimens in a "death assemblage," in which a group of the same animal is found preserved. It is thought that these sites are the results of flooding, when carcasses were washed into a muddy pond and covered with silt.
At 7 feet long, Deinonychus belonged to a group of dinosaurs called maniraptors, or "hand-robbers." Its hands and feet were equipped with sharp claws for catching and grasping prey. The dinosaur's hollow bones and long legs indicate swift and agile movement.
The Glen Rose Trackway is a 107-million-year-old series of fossilized dinosaur footprints. Excavated from the bed of the Paluxy River in Texas, the trackway gives a picture of dinosaurs that in some ways is more striking than that offered by fossils.
The 4-foot-long jaw, the 6-inch-long teeth, the massive thigh bones—almost everything about Tyrannosaurus rex indicates the enormous power of one of the largest theropod dinosaurs that ever existed.
Velociraptor was a fierce predator, as evidenced by the sharp teeth of this specimen.