August 9, 2010
Back in 1991, paleontologists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City created one of the most ambitious and controversial dinosaur exhibits ever seen. An homage to the (at the time) new vision of dinosaurs as active, dynamic animals, the skeletal scene depicted an Allosaurus menacing a juvenile Barosaurus, with the young dinosaur’s long-necked, whip-tailed mother rearing up on her hind legs in defense. This put the adult sauropod’s head about 50 feet in the air—an altitude that the dinosaur’s heart may not have been able to handle, given the distance blood would have to travel from its chest to its head. But regardless of the ongoing debate over sauropod biology the mount represents, it is an impressive sight.
Now, after nearly two decades, a rift is developing between the famous battling dinosaurs. After noticing a lot of visitor-induced wear at the margins of the exhibit, the museum’s staff decided to open up a pathway through the exhibit so that museum patrons can walk between the dinosaurs. For the first time, they will be able to get right in the middle of a prehistoric confrontation never witnessed by any human.
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