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DEENA: Once you got to the museum, what happened?

PROTO ANDY: People at the museum called "preparators" removed my plaster jacket and cleared away all the rock and sand using dental tools, soft tongue depressors, and a little vacuum. Next, latex rubber molds of my bones were created so that copies could be made.

DEENA: Once you were all cleaned and ready, did they then put you in one of the dinosaur halls of the museum?

PROTO ANDY: Nope. They stuck me on a shelf in the basement, where I've lived since the 1920s. I used to think, "You drag my bones all the way from Mongolia, and now you're just going to leave me on a shelf? My public awaits me!" Then I learned that over 95% of fossils are never displayed in the exhibition halls. Most fossils are used for research. So, I'm not a performer, but I guess you could say I'm part of the research team.

Protoceratops Skull

DEENA: What do they do with you if you're not in the halls?

PROTO ANDY: Scientists here sometimes take us to their offices for study. Occasionally, a scientific illustrator draws pictures of me for a journal of paleontology.

DEENA: When dinosaurs are put in the exhibition halls, how do the scientists decide what position to put the bones in?

PROTO ANDY: It's never easy. Scientists work together with artists to figure out a position that's probably accurate and fun to look at.

Protoceratops skeleton

DEENA: I heard that the big T. rex skeleton got a makeover a few years ago. Why?

PROTO ANDY: At the American Museum of Natural History, the Tyrannosaurus rex fossil used to look like that movie monster Godzilla. Once scientists realized that most dinosaur trackways (footprints) have no "drag marks" from their tails, they realized that dinosaurs probably walked with their tails in the air rather than dragging behind them.

This is what T. rex looks like now.