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A Tour of the Section

The tour starts beneath the spreading wings of a flying reptile or pterosaur. Fossil pterosaurs have been found in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.

The first exhibit explains the nature of fossils and the way organisms become fossilized. In order to fully understand how dinosaurs are found in the fossilized state, it is essential to know what fossils really are and how these are preserved. For this purpose, displays have been put up which pictorially show several fossilized remains of animals and plants and the processes an organism must undergo to become fossilized. For this purpose several unique specimens have been exhibited. These include a fossil prawn from the Fullers Earth sequence in western Rajasthan which shows all the features that are found in recent prawns except that the displayed specimen is over 50 million years in age! Also displayed are dinosaur bones, teeth of fossil elephants found in the Pinjor area of Haryana, fossil leaves from the Gondwana sediments and crab fossils. The distinction between true fossils and other inorganic material that look like fossils but are not organic in nature, has also been made. Through appropriate three dimensional models, various stages of fossilization resulting in casts and moulds have also been depicted. These include petrifcation, carbonization, and tracks and trails left by walking and crawling animals.

Panels illustrate the characteristics of dinosaurs, their distribution in the Indian subcontinent including the find of their remains in Pakistan. Graphic panels show the steps that a paleontologist has to follow starting from the initial discovery in the field of a dinosaur skeleton to its final restoration for display. This process consists of various steps: identification of the individual bones, then the anatomical reconstruction of the skeleton and lastly the three dimensional display for the general public. Two dinosaur models on real-size scale show the different types of hip joints which form the basis of the classification of all dinosaurs.

Panels also show the classification of dinosaurs and the kinds of dinosaurs found in India. Graphic displays also show the internal bone structure of a large plant-eating dinosaur recovered from Anjaar in Kutch district of Gujarat. This remarkable specimen shows in great detail, the structure of the bone cells, the osteons with their characteristic Haversian Canals and small mineralized openings which once formed the capillary blood pathways in the living animal.

The origin of birds from dinosaurs has also been focused upon. With the use of suitable diagrams, current theories regarding the way some small theropod dinosaurs took to the air, has also been shown.

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