Rare dinosaur fossils breathe life into HK museum

HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - Rare Chinese dinosaurs are set to stalk visitors to Hong Kong’s Science Museum in a new exhibition opening this month.

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The museum will host over 200 skeletons of dinosaur and animals that once lived in what is now China over 100 million years ago.

The collection includes the Jehol Biota, unique to Liaoning in northern China, as well as the Jinfengopteryx Elegans and Microraptor Gui, precursors of modern birds, and the Mammuthus Sungari, one of the largest mammoths ever discovered, which are being displayed in Hong Kong for the first time.

Assistant Curator Eddie Ng is confident the sheer size of this exhibition -- and its huge exhibits -- will impress. The exhibit opens on May 25.

“The difference between this exhibition and the last ones is that this time it is much larger,” said Ng.

He said one of the exhibition’s highlights was the 9-metre (29.5 foot) tall Nuoerosaurus Chaganensis, a carnivorous dinosaur that is a rare specimen.

“Carnivorous dinosaurs were not very common, and we have this one to show to the public,” Ng said.

The exhibition includes a dinosaur skeleton found in the Gobi desert. During the early Cretaceous Period about 120 million years ago, the area was warm and there was lush vegetation around lakes and rivers.

Prehistoric animals and plants flourished on this landscape until massive volcanic eruptions took place. Dinosaurs with feathers and ancient birds were among the victims of the prehistoric natural disasters, often being buried alive in a layer of fine volcanic ash.

The exhibition also includes skeletons of feathered dinosaurs, who shot to fame when the first bones were discovered in Liaoning in the early 1990s.

Curators hope the exhibition will shed a new light on the history of China.