Dinosaurs invade state museum in new exhibit

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Starting Saturday, dinosaurs will take over the South Carolina State Museum.

The museum's latest exhibit, "Dinosaurs: A Bite Out of Time," features everything from the most well-known dinosaur, the ferocious meat-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex, to a flying reptile with a wingspan of 23 feet wide.

"Some of the dinosaurs we have here had relatives of them living in South Carolina about 66 to 72 million years ago," said Dave Cicimurri, the museum's curator of natural history. "When visitors come in and see the T-Rex, we once had smaller versions of him running around Darlington and Florence counties."

Visitors will also see those who tried to hide from the T-Rex, like the Corythosaurus. Cicimurri says paleontologists believe their crested shaped head may have helped them steer clear of carnivores.

"They've modeled the crest and blown air through it and it makes a certain sound," said Cicimurri. "So we think some of those dinosaurs were using the crest to signal their friends in the neighborhood to say, 'Hey! T-Rex is coming! Everybody get out of the way,' or 'All clear,'" he added.

Other creatures that lived alongside the prehistoric beasts are also on display. Some may call them "sea monsters."

"We have a few marine reptiles," said Cicimurri. "One is a Elasomosaurus. If anybody's familiar with the Loch Ness monster, some folks have thought it looked like that."

"Another animal is called a Mosasaur," added Cicimurri, describing a crocodile-like sea monster. "But instead of having arms and legs, it has big paddles for swimming around."

Fifteen robotic dinosaurs in all are helping to bring history to life and give insight into what life was like when the beasts roamed the earth.

If you're interested in visiting the exhibit once it opens Saturday, tickets are $15 for adults and $11 for kids. If you're a member of the museum, tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for kids.

For more information visit the state museum's website.

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