Images

Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Come face to face with a 7.4 metre long predatory dinosaur
  • Reconstruct a skull… slice by slice!
  • See how your brain size compares to a Gorgosaurus
  • See how infrared light can help weigh a dinosaur
  • Use your eyes and x-rays to discover the chemistry of dinosaur bones

Further reading

Manning, P.L. et al. 2013 Synchrotron-based chemical imaging reveals plumage patterns in a 150 million year old bird. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 28, 1024-1030

Brassey, C.A. et al. 2013 Finite element modelling v’s classic beam theory; comparing methods for stress estimation in a morphologically diverse sample of vertebrae long bones. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 10, 1742-5662

Sellers, W.I. et al. 2012 Minimum convex hull mass estimations of complete mounted skeletons. Biology Letters 8, 842-845

 

 

The many facets of the electromagnetic spectrum can help resolve the shape, structure, chemistry and biology of life on Earth, both past and present. The X-Appeal exhibit will show how this spectrum impacts everyday life, from radio waves to x-rays, and how it is now being used to study fossils. Palaeontology is starting to unlock dilute shadows of life from deep time, sometimes using light brighter than a million suns. This exhibit will help visitors discover how past life might only be a wavelength away.

 
The electromagnetic spectrum can help resolve the structure, chemistry and biology of life on Earth, both past and present. Find out how palaeontology is starting to unlock shadows of life from deep time, sometimes using light brighter than a million suns.

The predatory dinosaur Gorgosaurus is the exhibit centrepiece, surrounded by a series of experiments exploring how to use the electromagnetic spectrum to image, analyse and investigate this dinosaur’s past. A task is given at each ‘experimental station’, using data from synchrotron light sources, high-power microtomography and 3D laser imaging to unpick this dinosaur’s biology. The prehistoric sleuthing relies on knowledge acquisition from each discipline, so that no single scientist will be able to tell the whole story of this 7.3 metre long predatory dinosaur.

Visitors can piece together clues from biology, physics, geology, maths and chemistry to earn rewards to help unlock the story of how this dinosaur accumulated so many healed injuries (pathologies). A laser shows how near infrared light can help estimate dinosaur body mass and model locomotion. Visitors can also submit their calculation of the dinosaur’s mass each day with the closest estimate winning a free science workshop for their school to be delivered by the Manchester team.

Lead image: The Gorgosaurus, a relative of the T. rex, found in 76-million-year-old rocks in North America.