Written by Miranda Champoux.
Usually, thoughts about dinosaurs include a giant T-rex or a velociraptor. A traveling exhibition is striving to change the way people think about dinosaurs and their babies.
The Museum of Idaho is hosting an exhibit called “Hatching the Past: The Search for Dinosaur eggs and babies.” It is going to be in the Museum of Idaho until May 7, according to the Museum of Idaho website.
“As Director of Exhibitions, I am constantly exploring new ideas and experiences to bring to the patrons of the Museum of Idaho,” said Rod Hansen, the Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Idaho. “In my exploration and discussions with previous hosts of the exhibit, I discovered a wonderful exhibit produced by an amazing company, with a new twist.”
Deborah Chessey, the Museum of Idaho Marketing Assistant, said the exhibit features dinosaur eggs and nests from around the world.
“This hands-on exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to touch authentic dinosaur eggs and bones as well as explore the nesting and rearing habits of the dinosaurs,” Chessey said.
Chessey said the exhibition explores dinosaurs in their infant and juvenile years.
“Sauropod nests and eggs are on display,” Chessey said. “These 60-foot tall giants laid cantaloupe-sized eggs in communal nesting sites that are similar to sea turtle nesting sites.”
Chessey said museum visitors can touch an authentic tibia from a Hadrosaur and compare it to the size of a baby and see the difference in size.
“The exhibit shows fossilized nests with parents brooding over their young; this shows that dinosaurs were active in the raising and rearing of their babies,” Chessey said.
Hansen said the exhibit is divided into six sections that each feature a family of dinosaurs: Ceratopsian, Sauropod, Ornithopod, Theropod, Giant Oviraptor and an enigma.
“I wanted a fresh perspective, and most people haven’t really thought about the dinosaur as an infant,” Hansen said. “The exhibit is full of fascinating information, with ‘speed bumps’ of dig pits and dress up to slow the kids down enough for the adults to learn more about the intrigue of ‘little’ dinos.”
Chessey said the exhibit has both authentic fossils and reproductions.
“It is also a visual spectacle with artwork created by Luis V. Rey that has been featured around the globe,” Chessey said. “The giant canvases showcase dinosaurs in vibrant colors and even better — the artwork shows up in 3D when photographed.”
Hansen said hatched fossil dinosaur eggs are common in the few nesting sites where they have been discovered, but embryos inside eggs are very rare.
“During 1993, while preparing a nest of fossilized dinosaur eggs under a microscope in his prep lab in Boulder, Colorado, Charlie Magovern made the remarkable discovery of a fully articulated dinosaur embryo,” Chessey said.
Chessey said the embryo, named “Baby Louie,” is the most complete dinosaur embryo ever found. He said the Museum of Idaho has a reproduction on display.
Hansen said the American Museum of Natural History identified the first dinosaur egg in 1923. He said he would like students to also learn about the common biology of eggs.
“Both dinosaur and man came from an egg,” Hansen said. “It may be different in size and structure, but still an egg. Dinosaurs had parents just like us.”
Hansen said students would find it exciting to explore family dynamics of dinosaurs and compare it to their own families. Hansen said they may have had similar sibling rivalries to ours.