Preparing dinosaurs

Making a mold To make a mold of an original bone, liquid rubber is painted on to the surface of the bone and left to set. When the rubber has set, it is removed from the bone in sections. It is then supported by cotton gauze and surrounded with a plastic jacket.

Pouring the mold The inside of the rubber molds are painted with liquid plastic and strengthened by sheets of fiberglass. The mold sections are then joined together to recreate the bone's shape, and are filled with plastic foam.

Pouring the plastic foam into the bone cast

As scientists gain a better understanding of the way dinosaurs lived, museums try to arrange dinosaur skeletons in a variety of poses. Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York built an exciting display. They showed a Barosaurus skeleton rearing up, defending its young against an attacking Allosaurus. Since the fossil bones of Barosaurus were very fragile and too heavy to display in such a pose, a lightweight replica of the skeleton was made.

Filing away the rough edges of the joins

Finishing touches The joins in the cast bones are smoothed by filing. The plastic bones are then painted to match the colours of the original bones.

Moving the cast The skeleton is completed in sections before being mounted in its final position. Since the casts are light weight, it is quite easy to move the skeleton in large sections, such as the entire ribcage.

Placing the neck Barosaurus is mounted on a fiberglass replica of a natural landscape. The height of the Barosaurus skeleton rearing up is over 50 ft (15 m). The neck has to be lifted by a crane and placed carefully into its final position.

v Several museum workers move Barosaurus' ribcage.

A guide rope steadies the neck as it is being raised.

v Several museum workers move Barosaurus' ribcage.

A guide rope steadies the neck as it is being raised.

The welded joints must be very strong to support the skeleton.

The welded joints must be very strong to support the skeleton.

Welding together A supporting steel frame runs through the skeleton sections. This frame was welded to join the sections together. The operation was carefully planned, since any mistake would have been very costly.

Storing fossils The dinosaur fossils on display in museums are often just a fraction of the fossils the museum possesses. sometimes thousands of fossils are housed in storerooms.

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