Were dinosaurs social animals? What was life like for baby dinosaurs? These and other questions are answered in the new exhibit opening Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven: "Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies."
"It's a great story of looking at these creatures that were alive hundreds of millions of years ago," says Richard A. Kissel, director of public programs (exhibitions and education). "And looking at all the little fossil clues that scientists find, these puzzle pieces per se, that they put back together and kind of paint a complete picture of not only what these creatures look like, but some of their behavioral patterns."
While most of the all-ages, hands-on exhibit focuses on dinosaurs, part of the exhibit takes a look at eggs and the diversity of eggs of modern birds. Visitors will also have the chance to see the hatching of real emu eggs.
"... Knowing that they are essentially looking at living dinosaurs, it will kind of help them transport back 100 million years ago to imagine what it might have been like to watch dinosaur eggs hatch," says Kissel, explaining that birds have evolved from meat-eating dinosaurs.
In case you are wondering, an emu is a large, flightless bird (adults are about 6 feet tall) that is native to Australia. A couple of weeks after the eggs hatch, Kissel says, the Peabody will return them to an emu farm in Massachusetts.
The museum will live stream the eggs and the hatching, which Kissel estimates should be sometime in March. The Peabody is hoping to have two, possibly, three hatchings during the exhibit, which runs through Aug. 30.
Other components include several small dig pits where children can excavate baby dinosaur eggs; more than 150 fossil dinosaur eggs, including sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs) and theropods (meat-eating dinosaurs), nests, embryos and young; and paintings showing interpretations of dinosaur family life and dinosaur nesting.
"It's a much more hands-on exhibit than we traditionally do here at the Peabody," says Kissel. "We're excited for that."
"Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies" runs Feb. 8 through Aug. 30 at The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, at 170 Whitney Ave., New Haven. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $9 adults, $8 seniors, $5 children 3 to 18 and college students with I.D. Children under 3 are free as are all visitors on Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. through June. Information: 203-432-5050, peabody.yale.edu.