In the spring of 2018, we’ll unveil a cast of the largest dinosaur ever discovered: a 122-foot-long titanosaur is coming to our main Stanley Field Hall. And while SUE the T. rex is moving to their own new gallery, the titanosaur won’t be lonely—it’ll be joined by life-size replicas of giant flying reptiles and hanging gardens inspired by plants that lived alongside dinosaurs, like ferns, cycads, and arums.
The flock of scientifically accurate pterosaurs (which are flying reptiles, not dinosaurs, thank you very much) will give a glimpse at animals that shared the planet with dinosaurs. The lifelike replicas include nine hawk-sized Rhamphorhynchus (ram-foh-RINK-us), two Pteranodon (teh-RAN-oh-don) with 18-foot-wingspans, and two giant Quetzalcoatlus (ket-zal-co-AHT-lus), whose spread wings stretch 35 feet.
For context, 35 feet is about the length of a bus. It’s also about the length of SUE the T. rex, who will be undergoing scientific updates before their reveal in a new gallery near the Museum’s other dinos in spring 2019. (Read: don’t worry, SUE won’t be gone for long, and when you see them next year, they’ll be even bigger, in keeping with the latest T. rex research.)
The hanging gardens will contain over 1,000 live hydroponic plants growing in inert volcanic rock and receiving water and fertilizer from the ceiling. The four garden structures, the largest of which is 35 feet across, will be made of 3D-printed plastic and suspended from the ceiling.
“Our goal as an institution is to offer visitors the best possible dinosaur experiences, and we want that to start right when visitors first enter Stanley Field Hall,” says Field Museum president Richard Lariviere. “The new hanging gardens and the flock of pterosaurs will take our visitors back to the age of the dinosaurs and will complement the new titanosaur.”
For more details, read the full press release.
The gardens, pterosaurs, titanosaur, and renovations to SUE are all made possible by Citadel CEO Kenneth C. Griffin’s generous gift of $16.5 million and are part of groundbreaking changes coming to the Museum in its 125th year.