Gordo Romps at R.O.M.

Dec 16 2007 was one of the worst snowstorms in the last 60 years here in Toronto, lotsa snow, whiteout conditions, yadda yadda. I had to go see me some dinosaurs.

In my last post, I wondered -and worried and fretted- if the Royal Ontario Museum would have the same kind of information in its new Age of Dinosaurs and Age of Mammals displays as I witnessed this past summer at the Royal Tyrrell Museum; I need not have lost sleep.

Just brilliant.

I decided not to go all the way through the Stairs of Wonder in the new Crystal at the R.O.M., and instead wanted to seek out the way in from the original second floor galleries. So I walked down a small flight, into the Age of Mammals, and there is information everywhere for the active self-educator. This was the opening weekend, and there are a few specimens lacking info-cards (some with no identification at all), but clearly they are putting the finishing touches on the displays.

For example, I was not aware that our parasaurolophus is called the halotype, the specific fossil to which all other parasaurolophus fossils are compared. Fancy that.

At right is an early mammal, an oreodont, and it looks like some predator only licked out the soft middle and left the cookie parts intact.

One of the biggest -haha- reasons for the delay in being finally prepared, has to be Gordo, the barosaurus found after being lost in the basement for the last 40 years, and hastily, carefully, accurately put on display in time for the opening. Named after the late curator Gordon Edmund who acquired him for the R.O.M., Gordo is a thrill.

Gordo the barosaurus shakes-that-thing and shows why he is called "The Moneymaker". Check out those hips baby!

At about 85 feet long, you can't actually stand back far enough in the gallery to take him in in one view without at least flicking your eyes from tailtip to dashing smile. There are videos of David Evans, the palaeontologist who rescued Gordo, discussing some of the more important fossils on the display. Perhaps my one complaint is the volume on these needs to be turned down a bit.

A great day. Excellent casts from the feathered dinosaur exhibit that toured from China a while back, and the Age of Mammals is so full of specimens and placards, you could spend a couple of hours looking at our fuzzy cousins.

A look at Gordo from outside.

At the dromeosaur display, I had to whip out my sketchbook and just start drawing. There were some fossil birds in there, wing-feather impressions clearly visible, and I just had to draw. Other itchy-finger artists out there will know what I mean: Leslie, Nancy, Jesse, and the other artists on my blogroll know what I mean! You see it, you just have to capture it. I'll refine the sketch a bit more and post it later. Perhaps after that bird gets identified.

Back into the snow, exhilarated, inspired, happy and proud of the museum I have loved my whole life. The new Crystal addition is shaping up to be grand. I paid a visit to the original facade that had me entranced so much as a child.

And so, to home.