The biggest known dinosaur to ever walk this Earth will soon be the biggest dinosaur skeleton ever exhibited at a museum. Beginning in January 2016, visitors of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City can see the big-boned dinosaur with their own eyes. Measuring 122 feet long, paleontologists think the massive plant-eating land animal weighed almost 154,000 pounds when it was alive.
The giant dino is a type of titanosaur. Scientists discovered the skeleton on a dig in Argentina in 2014. It’s so new, the species doesn’t even have an official name yet. Paleontologists think the forest-dwelling dinosaur could be anywhere from 95 to 100 million years old.
Reconstructing a giant dinosaur takes a lot of bones: Both real ones and replacements for those that have been lost over time. First, scientists extract the dinosaur bones they find in the ground on their dig. In this case, paleontologists were able to extract around 40 percent of the dinosaur’s original bones.
To create the skeleton for this exhibit, paleontologists and museum curators make fake bones that stand in for both the real ones and those that are missing. This happens in a few stages. First, they create an image of a complete dinosaur skeleton on the computer. Then, they use a 3-D printer to make the fake bones, also called replicas. Finally, they coat the bones with a resin or fiberglass to protect them.
This new technique means that the skeleton will be much lighter and easier to assemble compared to other older skeletons on display. When exhibited, the skeleton will look like it’s floating in space, says Mark Norell, a paleontologist at AMNH, in an interview with Wired magazine.
What was the hardest part about building the display? The skeleton is so big, it will barely fit in the space! The head and neck will stick out of the hallway towards the elevator, and its back will graze the 19-foot tall ceilings. See for yourself, in this video that models how the dinosaur will look when it’s in the museum.