Night Museum: Hang with me and the ‘saurs, Friday June 3 in Ueno


Update: This tour is now full.  So sorry to disappoint those who aren’t able to participate. I will try to organize another one of the permanent exhibition. Let me know if you’d be interested.

Come join me Friday evening June 3 at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno Park for a tour of Dinosaur Expo 2016, a special exhibition that is held just once every three years. Our guide will be Dr. Makoto Manabe, the museum’s chief paleontologist, who speaks English fluently and is a wonderful educator. He’s also the rock star of dinosaur study in Japan, as I discovered when he tried to lead me through the exhibition for an advance look-see — fans kept stopping us and asking to have their picture taken with him!

If it’s been a while since you updated your knowledge about dinosaurs, this tour will offer plenty of surprises. Highlights include the newest reconstruction of Spinosaurus, the largest known carnivorous dinosaur, shown here for the first time in Japan. Spinosaurus was first discovered by a German paleontologist in 1912, but the fossils he brought back to Munich were destroyed during World War II.  As a result, the dinosaur was almost completely forgotten until 2008, when new remains were discovered in Morocco.  Now, based on studies of these and other newly discovered Spinosaurus bones, scientists believe the animal moved on four feet and was semi-aquatic, hunting in the water as well as the land.

TyrannosaurusLooksAtSpinosaurus (1)

We’ll also get to watch Dr. Clive Coy, a paleontologist in from the University of Alberta, as he cleans the fossils of a small dinosaur called Saurornitholestes, which he uncovered in the Canadian Bad Lands a few years ago. It’s slow, careful work, to say the least, and he’ll chat with us about what he’s doing.


The exhibition will be open to other visitors when we visit, but Friday evening is less crowded than other times. To be sure everyone can hear well, we’ll have earphone head-sets connected wirelessly to Dr. Manabe’s microphone.  Other topics we’ll cover will include baby dinosaurs — we’ll see a baby skeleton visiting Japan for the first time — origin, endothermy, herbvivory, flight, aquatic adaptation, and dinosaur calls.

Date and time: Friday June 5, 6:30 to 8:00 pm
Meet: 6:20 pm at the entrance to Dinosaur Expo 2016, National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno Park, Tokyo
Cost: 2,000 yen for adults, 1,000 yen for children (elementary to high-school kids welcome)

Tour is now full –space was very limited.

And if you’ve got 15 minutes to bone up on spinosaurus, check out this nice talk by German paleontologist Nazir Ibrahim.

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