Henan Dinosaur Park

brachioOur recent trip into the field was based in the town of Xixia in south western Henan in central China. In the last couple of years they have opened a major museum cum dinosaur theme park thingy with two separate museum buildings to house their collection of eggs and bones, some animatronic dinosaurs and outside a huge collection of concrete life-sized replicas of famous dinosaurs.

imgp2853Apart from a few dodgy bits (tails are often a bit short and postures are odd, probably simply to add stability to the models) these replicas are generally very good. They are the right size and shape and have the main details put in correctly and often have nice and indeed realistic colour schemes (though none in black and white sadly). While there are a couple of duff ones (the Spinosaurus was horrific) overall I was impressed. A nice touch was that they were set in a lush garden so you really got a good impression of animals in a real environment and not just a bunch of models standing around in an open field, and each came with a small plaque providing basic information about the animal.

In the UK at least these kind of large scale replicas are few and far between and often very outdated and badly made. Mostly what none of them are is full-sized and there is something wonderful about standing next to a full-sized Brachiosaurus. Nothing I know of shows up the size of an animal like being able to physically stand right next to it and get to it properly. I used to work in a couple of zoos for a while and while intellectually you might *know* exactly how big a giraffe or rhino or emu is, you only get a real sense of scale by actually being able to get right up to the animal.

There are of course full size mounts for big dinosaur skeletons around but not only can you often not get that close to them, but it’s still not quite the same as being around a life reconstruction. If only in my case because for once I don’t have to focus on the bones and can spend my time looking at the actually animal and not trying to count the cervicals or see where the deltopectoral crest finishes.
Anyway here are a few of the better mounts (and a slightly dodgy dromaeosaur), so enjoy. I’ll deal with the main part of the museum next.

9 Responses to “Henan Dinosaur Park”

  1. 1 Adam Pritchard 05/05/2009 at 1:32 pm

    I’m curious. How do your old UK models measure up to this gem from my childhood: DINOSAUR LAND!
    The “dodgy” dromaeosaur looks like the absolute best of the critters I remember from my youthful visits to Dinosaur Land.

    Good to know that there are some decent dinosaur model parks elsewhere in the world, and that some of the models are actually pretty damned good.

  2. 2 Adam Pritchard 05/05/2009 at 1:33 pm

    Hmmm…the link didn’t appear.


  3. 3 David Hone 05/05/2009 at 4:04 pm

    The ones I remember were probably intermediate between these and those of the epic-looking Dinosaur Land. Not great, but not bad and in some cases pretty much in tune with the old ideas (tail dragging sauropods etc.) and just tended to be a bit outdated and simple rather than actively bad like those in your link.

  4. 4 Kilian Hekhuis 05/05/2009 at 6:49 pm

    In the town where I live we have a quite nice dinosaur exhibit at the local zoo. See here: http://www.dierenparkamersfoort.nl/dinobos/onzedinosaurierseenreisdoordetijd/ for some impressions (click the links, most have photos. Standing next to a real life size diplodocus indeed makes you realise just how big these critters got…

  5. 5 Mike Taylor 05/05/2009 at 10:42 pm

    That dromie is not “dodgy”, it’s merely Bakkerian — an homage to the classic illustration he did for Ostrom’s Deinonychus monograph.

  6. 6 Zach Miller 06/05/2009 at 1:50 am

    That’s what I thought, too, Mike. They clearly did their own thing, though: the head is too abbreviated, the eyes are up high like a frog’s, and is it just me or does it lack sickle-claws?
    I really like the therizinosaur!

  7. 7 David Hone 06/05/2009 at 7:13 am

    Yeah it’s the head that’s dodgy, the rest is not just fine but actually very good. Given that it’s made of concrete it’s impressive that the thing balances on that one leg in that pose.

  1. 1 Xixia Museum of Dinosaur Fossil Eggs of China « Dave Hone’s Archosaur Musings Trackback on 06/05/2009 at 8:58 am
  2. 2 The egg tunnels of Henan « Dave Hone’s Archosaur Musings Trackback on 07/05/2009 at 8:52 am
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