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Dinosaurs invade Ohio

Cincinnati show drawn from digs south of equator

– A Canadian exhibit of bones and fossils from dinosaurs that are believed to have roamed the Southern Hemisphere from 250 million to 65 million years ago will make its U.S. premiere at a southwest Ohio museum.

The Cincinnati Museum Center will present the “Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana” exhibit beginning June 13.

The exhibit, produced and circulated by the Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto, consists of artifacts and 17 full-size skeletal casts based on recent excavations in South America, Africa and Madagascar.

The exhibit reveals some bizarre and unusual dinosaurs that were isolated from species common to the Northern Hemisphere.

“This exhibition gives you the extraordinary opportunity to experience dinosaurs you’ve never seen before, in ways you’ve never imagined,” said Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Museum officials say the exhibit shows how the continental drift affected the evolution of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era.

Scientists say dinosaurs first appeared 250 million years ago on the giant supercontinent Pangaea that later divided into Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south before separating into the earth’s current continents, museum officials said.

The exhibit, surrounded by life-like environmental murals, will include some skeletal casts that are replicas in addition to real fossils and skeletons.

One skeletal cast is of the Giganotosaurus, which museum officials say was possibly the largest land predator that ever lived.

The museum is offering a new twist in the exhibit through the use of what’s known as augmented reality, in which virtual experiences are layered over real environments.

Through iPads mounted on columns – similar to periscopes – the technology will allow visitors to view skeletal casts and see the dinosaurs as they would have looked with flesh and coloring, museum spokeswoman Elizabeth Pierce said.

Pierce said the technology also will allow people to download an app, point their tablets or smartphones at markers such as posters or rugs or even small stickers, and see an animated dinosaur appear to pop out of their phone.

“The animated dinosaur appears to walk around and roar at you,” Pierce said. “The size of the marker controls the size of the dinosaur.”

Tickets for the exhibit, which will run through Jan. 6, go on sale May 1.