66-million-year-old Passenger Still Up for Road Trips
The T. rex skeleton, along with the skeletons of a mammoth, a mastodon, an Eremotherium,(that’s a giant sloth), and Hatcher, the first Triceratops ever publicly displayed, traveled in temperature-controlled FedEx Custom Critical trucks. The temperature needed to be consistent to help simulate the environment where the fossils were recently restored.
Ancient specimens are incredibly sensitive to humidity and temperature. Materials last longer at cooler temperatures, and rapidly changing temperatures may have damaging effects on fossils, metals, stone, and other items. Changes in humidity cause objects to expand and contract, which can cause damage and accelerate deterioration.
The T. rex spent three and half years in Ontario, where missing parts were cast to complete the skeleton restoration, and it was repositioned into a dramatic scene standing over Hatcher. This installation will become the future centerpiece of a new fossil hall in The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Set to open June 8, 2019, The David H. Koch Hall of Fossils – Deep Time, will feature the nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton alongside more than 700 specimens, including dinosaurs, plants, animals and insects, some never before displayed in the museum.
“The return of the T. rex is an important milestone in the countdown to the grand opening of this extraordinary hall in June 2019,” said Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History. “This hall will be unlike any other – it begins in the past and ends in the future.”
The exhibition will depict a journey through time—from the formation of Earth and the beginnings of life through 10 geologic time periods and Earth’s major extinction events—concluding at a point where visitors will consider how they shape the future of the planet.
The move marked the third time FedEx donated services to move the ancient fossils.
“It’s exciting to use our operation to move these precious shipments, but it’s even more rewarding to know that because of this shipment, museum visitors will be able to experience something they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to see,” said Virginia Addicott, President and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical.
“We are proud to continue the historic relationship between the Smithsonian and FedEx with the return of the Nation’s T. rex from Canada, where it was prepared for installation in the new fossil hall,” said Sandra Lovinguth, Chief Development Officer, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “The FedEx team was meticulous in the care they provided for these precious fossils, exceeded only by their enthusiasm for what they do. We were gratified to have such quality support for the Nation’s T. rex’s journey home.”
Visit https://naturalhistory.si.edu/deeptime/ for more information on the upcoming exhibit.
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