Press Release: Jurassic Oceans exhibition coming to the Field Museum this summer

February 27, 2020 Exhibition

During the Jurassic period, dinosaurs roamed a landscape covered in lush rainforests—thanks to Hollywood, most of us have a pretty good idea of what that world looked like. But the Field Museum’s newest exhibition gives visitors a chance to dive into the other side of that world: its seas. Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep, which will open June 12, takes visitors on an underwater journey to encounter some of the fascinating, fierce, and strange creatures that dominated Earth’s Jurassic seas while dinosaurs ruled the land.

The show features over 100 fossils and models ranging from giant marine reptiles that looked like real-life versions of the Loch Ness Monster to small, strange starfish cousins called sea lilies. Visitors will come face-to-face with marine predators and other friendly marine life of the Jurassic seas through real fossils and CGI projections. “We’re excited to showcase these amazing encounters and let visitors experience the incredible diversity of the Jurassic oceans,” says Emily Parr, the exhibition’s project manager. The public will be able to touch real fossils of shelled creatures from the Jurassic, feel the textures of replicated sea creature skins, and explore the features of marine reptiles on interactive touchscreens.

The exhibition, which was produced and curated by London’s Natural History Museum, will showcase some of the top marine predators of the time. These include a true-to-life replica of one of the top marine predators of the time (a sleek, speedy reptile called an ichthyosaur) and the skeleton of a long-necked plesiosaur.

Visitors will be able to get up close with a fossilized tail of one of the biggest fish ever discovered: Leedsichthys, a thirty-foot-long giant that cruised near the surface of the sea catching thousands of microscopic plankton. But not all marine giants lived during the Jurassic: visitors will be able to pose for a photo opp with a replica of the ten-foot-wide jaws of the prehistoric shark Megalodon, which lived closer to our time than to the dinosaurs. Museumgoers will also get to see real specimens of today’s marine reptiles: crocodiles, sea snakes, sea turtles, water monitors, and marine iguanas.

 “I hope visitors will get to know some of the animals that dominated our oceans for 160 million years, and learn that dinosaurs weren’t the only impressive reptiles around in the Jurassic,” says Lottie Dodwell, an interpretation developer at London’s Natural History Museum, who worked on the exhibition.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Field Museum for the launch of our exhibition Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep, which features some of the best objects from the nine million fossils we hold in our collections,” says Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, London. “In the present day when our planet is in crisis, it is more critical than ever before for us to act as advocates for the natural world. We hope visitors will enjoy diving deep into the past of our oceans and be inspired to protect their future.”

“People have always tried to imagine what ferocious beasts might lurk beneath the waves,” says Parr. “Through the exhibition, we’ll be able to show them the real monsters of the deep.”

Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep will be presented with bilingual text in English and Spanish and will run until January 3, 2021. Field Museum major sponsor: Discover.