Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana tells the story of how continental drift affected the evolution of dinosaurs on the dynamic Earth during the Mesozoic, 250 – 65 million years ago. When dinosaurs first appeared 250 million years ago, the continents of the Earth were assembled into the giant supercontinent, Pangaea.
As Pangaea divided first into Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south, and later into the many continents of today, dinosaurs were passengers on these moving continents. An amazing diversity of dinosaurs evolved on each of these separate lands. Their imposed geographic isolation helped promote their evolution into an incredible array of bizarre forms that dominated wherever they lived.
Southern dinosaurs have some unusual features - including sails, horns and spines - that are rarely, if ever, seen in their Northern relatives. Entirely different groups of dinosaurs came to dominate the South and North by the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. Differences in the shapes of their bodies, skulls, and even teeth hint at the animals' eating habits.
Starting the week of June 17, you'll be able to start collecting dinosaurs trading cards as you exit the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit. A different dinosaur card will be given out each week and also posted on our Facebook page. Make the most of your Member Pass and come back often to collect them all! Bonus cards will also be revealed at special events.
Here's a sneak peek at the dinosaurs you'll see in Ultimate Dinosaurs:
|Eoraptor was a small bipedal dinosaur that lived during the Triassic, about 228 million years ago. Eoraptor had two different types of teeth, with those in the back more serrated and curved, while those in the front were more leaf-shaped, suggesting that it ate a variety of foods and was an omnivore.|
|Like its contemporary Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus was bipedal and had a relatively long tail. However, it was a carnivorous theropod that may have preyed on some of the other dinosaurs that lived in the same area, such as Pisanosaurus or Eoraptor.|
|Cryolophosaurus was the first named dinosaur from Antarctica. Even though the research team worked in the middle of the Antarctica summer, temperatures rarely rose above -20 degrees C. The fossils were also in very hard rocks and the only way to get them out was through the use of rock saws, jackhammers, and in some cases, dynamite.|
|The long-necked, small-headed dinosaur Massospondylus belongs to a group called the sauropodomorphs, which were the dominant terrestrial plant eaters throughout the Jurassic period. Numerous Massospondylus fossils have been found in South Africa, including multiple complete skeletons of different growth stages.|
|Nigersaurus was a rebbachisaurid sauropod with a relatively short neck and a long tail. The most unusual feature of this dinosaur is its bizarre head. All of its teeth were concentrated in a row at the front of the jaws. These teeth, which were continually worn down and replaced, were packed conveyor belt style.|
|Suchomimus has a skull with a long snout similar in shape to that of a crocodile, hence its name "crocodile mimic." Characteristics of its skull and teeth indicate that this animal, along with its larger sail-backed cousin Spinosaurus, were probably fish eaters that fed on the gigantic fish species thriving in the rivers and lagoons at the time.|
|Ouranosaurus was a large ornithopod dinosaur closely related to the well-known Iguanodon from Europe. It was a medium-sized plant-eating animal, weighing about as much as a rhinoceros. The most distinctive feature of Ouranosaurus is the row of elongated vertebral spines along its back, which form a "sail" that stands more than 1.5 meters high.|
|Amargasaurus is an unusual sauropod found in Patagonia, Argentina. Although somewhat small compared to many other sauropods, it was more than 10 metres in length. This dinosaur is known for the twin rows of long spines (up to 50 cm) running down its neck. A herbivore, it used its peg-like teeth to strip low-lying vegetation.|
|Majungasaurus was an abelisaurid theropod that lived on the island of Madagascar at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, approximately 70 million years ago. Majungasaurus has a thick, ornamented skull with a strange dome-like projection over its forehead.|
|A medium-sized theropod, Masiakasaurus knopfleri is probably best known for being named after the singer Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits, "whose music inspired expedition crews." Instead of having teeth pointing upward and downward, the teeth at the front of its mouth project directly forward.|
|One of the most amazing discoveries made in Madagascar to date is not a dinosaur, but a bizarre crocodilian called Simosuchus. Simosuchus is unlike any other crocodile relative living today because it was a herbivore. Simosuchus gets its name from its pug-like face. Simosuchus was small, about the size of a large dog and it had armour in its skin to help protect it from predators.|
|Carnotaurus is known for a large pair of horns on the top of its head, which lead its discoveries to give it a Latin name that translates as "meat-eating bull." The horns were probably used to communicate visually with members of its own species, either to attract mates or to compete with rivals.|
|The long-snouted Austroraptor lived about 70 million years ago in what is now Patagonia. At more than 16 feet in total length, it is one of the largest known members of the dromaeosaur family, the group of carnivorous theropods that includes the agile Velociraptor or Jurassic Park fame.|
|Buitreraptor was a small, turkey-sized dinosaur that lived about 95 million years ago in what is now Argentina. Although the original fossil did not show any preserved feathers, several of its close relatives have been found with feathers, meaning the Buitreraptor also likely possessed feathers of some kind.|
|Futalognkosaurus was one of the largest animals ever to have walked this planet and it would have dominated the landscape. Not only was it one of the largest animals, its skeleton is also the most complete of any of the large long-necked dinosaurs that we know.|
|Giganotosaurus may have been the largest land predator ever to have lived. It is the largest carnivorous dinosaur from Gondwana known from a complete skeleton – the best specimen is missing only its arms and feet.|
|Parasaurolophus lived in western North America from about 77 to 72 million years ago. Its fossils have been found from Alberta to New Mexico. Parasaurolophus is the most recognizable duck-billed dinosaur because of its long, tube-shaped crest that projects from the back of its skull.|
|Edmontosaurus lived in North America in the last 5 million years of the Cretaceous and its remains have been found over much of the western half of the continent. More fossils have been found of Edmontosaurus than of any other duck-billed dinosaur; more than 25 skulls have been unearthed to date and many complete skeletons are known.|
|Triceratops, the most famous horned dinosaur, is one of the best known in terms of fossil material. Even though more than a hundred skulls of this iconic dinosaur have been collected and are in museums around the world, research is revealing new information about how Triceratops grew.|
|For decades, T.rex was the undisputed king of the dinosaurs, as it was thought to be the largest meat-eater ever to evolve on land. Its supremacy has been challenged in the last 20 years with the discovery of Giganotosaurus in South America and new finds of Carcharodontosaurus and Spinosaurus in Africa.|