The “Tiny Titan” Dinosaur Exhibit highlights local science at the Western Science Center

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“Tiny Titan: A New Look at Haplocanthosaurus,” a new temporary exhibit at the Western Science Center, opens Nov. 16, and features the scientific research of local paleontologists from Western University of Health Sciences. Courtesy photo

HEMET – A new temporary exhibit arrived at the Western Science Center. “Tiny Titan: A New Look at Haplocanthosaurus” opened to the public Nov. 16, and features the scientific research of local paleontologists from Western University of Health Sciences.

Western University professors Dr. Mathew Wedel, Dr. Jessie Atterholt and Dr. Thierra Nalley developed the Tiny Titan exhibit in conjunction with Western Science Center staff based on research they have conducted on Haplocanthosaurus, particularly on its air-filled vertebrae. The project started with Wedel’s collaboration with Dr. Jessie Atterholt, but now also includes Western University clinical assistant professor of radiology Dr. John Yasmer, and Gary Wisser of Western University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The exhibit features fossils on loan from the Museums of Western Colorado that are part of this continued research.

Members of the group of animals known as sauropods, which are commonly referred to as “long-neck” dinosaurs, Haplocanthosaurus lived millions of year ago during the late Jurassic in what is now the American West. Around the size of a full-grown elephant, Haplocanthosaurus was smaller than other commonly known sauropods like Brachiosaurus. Using CT scanning and 3D modeling, Western University scientists have been learning more about this unique dinosaur and its place in the fossil record.

“Paleontology always involves exploration, because every fossil is a new window into the past,” Wedel said. “This specimen of Haplocanthosaurus has been especially surprising, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned through this exhibit.”

“Tiny Titan: A New Look at Haplocanthosaurus” is the latest addition to the museum’s continued efforts to make scientific research conducted in the Inland Empire easily accessible to the public.

“Museums are one of the primary venues for scientists to show their works to the public, but very few scientists work for museums or have easy access to museum displays,” Dr. Alton Dooley, executive director of the Western Science Center, said. “We plan for this exhibit to be the first of many in which the Western Science Center serves as a bridge between researchers from other institutions and the public.”

Admission to the Western Science Center is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors 62-plus, $6.50 for students 13-22 with ID, $6 for youth 5-12, children under 4 years old are free and active military members with ID are free. “Tiny Titan: A New Look at Haplocanthosaurus” will run until spring 2020.

Submitted by Western Science Center.