ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Peabody Museum

Updated on March 30, 2010

Peabody Museum of Natural History, Connecticut

Few museums can match the Peabody. Built in 1923, this gothic mini-cathedral to the history of dinosaur science reflects the dinosaur-hunting frenzy of Yale University's most famous fossil expert, Othniel Charles Marsh. Marsh's wealthy uncle, George Peabody, financed the museum and facilitated his nephew's appointment as the country's first professor of palaeontology. It took Marsh most of his lifetime to acquire one of the nation's largest collections of dinosaur fossils.

There's much more here than dinosaurs, of course. You can touch the pineapple-like bark of a fossil cycad, part of a landmark collection of seed-bearing plants dominant through much of the dinosaurs- time on Earth. You can find skeletal mounts of ancient mammals and primates, plus exhibits devoted to Native American cultures beneath the vaulted ceiling of the first floor. Activities for kids occupy the second floor in the Discovery Room, while dioramas of North American wildlife, a hall devoted to rocks and minerals, and cultural remains from ancient Egypt fill the third floor.

The Great Hall of Dinosaurs may seem a bit fusty, perhaps, but the exhibits are impressive. Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus skeletons are especially daunting in the confines of the hall's central island. Displayed since 1931, the Apatosaurus was the first mounted skeleton of the huge dinosaur, known originally as Brontosaurus, or "Thunder Lizard." Though scientists have considered the name invalid for decades, it's too well known to ever disappear from the dinosaur lexicon. Originally, this Apatosaurus skeleton mistakenly wore the bulkier skull of Camarasaurus, but the Peabody has its skulls straight now.

Apatosaurus has some distinguished dinosaur company here: the sauropod giant Camara-saurus, skulls of three ceratopsians or horned dinosaurs, plus skeletons of Stegosaurus, Camptosaurus, and the sturdy duckbilled Edmontosaurus (also one of the earliest skeletons to be mounted in North America). Another notable display features the largest known turtle, Archelon, a 12-foot-long contemporary of the duckbills.

The Great Hall also features Yale's great 20th-century contributions to dinosaur science. While exploring the Montana badlands in 1964, Yale palaeontologists John Ostrom came across a striking, sickle-shaped toe claw from a dinosaur. From this and other finds, Ostrom named it Deinonychus, or "Terrible Claw." The beast provided evidence that led Ostrom (and his student at the time, Bob Bakker) to launch the modern view of theropod dinosaurs as active, agile, even warm-blooded animals that were ancestors to birds. A man-sized "raptor," or dromaeosaurid, Deinonychus appears here dynamically posed as a slashing leaper - the Freddy Krueger of the Cretaceous.

For aficionados of dinosaur art, the Peabody's main attraction isn't a fossil at all but Rudolph Zallinger's 1947 mural, The Age of Reptiles. This 110-foot-long panorama won a Pulitzer award and adorned the cover of Life and an elaborate spread inside the magazine. Zallinger's masterpiece spans 300 million years of Earth history, including the Age of Dinosaurs. The depictions are somewhat dated, of course, but a recent touch-up has restored the painting to its original vibrancy.

A schedule of changing exhibits highlights new discoveries and research, and an ongoing program of events for families and children offers learning all year long.

Continued in: Diggin' For Dinosaurs - American Museum of Natural History

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)