In an American Museum of Natural History, lies a collection of bones of very dead animals.
They call it a Fossil Hall, a tribute to animals that no longer exist but have left behind, a permanent reminder of their existence and one fossil hall, in particular, has drawn the attention of people for centuries, The Dinosaurs.
All that humans have left of a once glorious dynasty; the mighty Dinosaurs are their fossils, stone copies of long-decayed bones. It’s hard to imagine and easy to forget that these bones once held life, that these bones were once living, breathing animals. Surviving in a world of unimaginable violence, where predator and prey were locked in a brutal battle for survival in a world where very few would survive.
Predatory Dinosaurs lived by a Cree, to live fast and to die young.
But if you take a closer look at these bones and you know the signs and what to look for, sometimes the scars of life are evident.
The scars of my life,
The injuries and diseases that were found preserved in the bones of one of the most remarkable skeletons of a dinosaur that has ever been discovered.
An Allosaurus, a fierce and powerful dinosaur and the apex predator of the Jurassic Period in Wyoming.
The Paleontologists that found me named me Big Al, the most complete Allosaurus fossil ever to be discovered.
By studying my bones and comparing me to my closest relatives over many years, there was enough evidence for the Paleontologists to raise my ghost from my one hundred and forty-five million-year-old grave.
The ghost of a massive predator made its way solemnly through the halls adorned with the fossils of many animals that he had once shared his world with; despite his enormous height and length of eight metres, this dinosaur is not yet fully grown.
This is the ghost of Big Al, the dinosaur that Paleontologists know the most about; a glint of sadness in his eyes, the eyes of a predator.
His eyes trail to the replication of an Allosaurus nest made of plaster and clay, mounted in its exhibit behind glass but perhaps what shocked him the most was that this exhibition was, next to his bones, back on his feet after one hundred and forty-five million years. He’s not sure if he recognises the bones and gives them a sniff as if to check. The scars of life, after all, are an eternal reminder of his struggle for survival and his eventual death.
As the Paleontologists uncovered the evidence that his skeleton held and compared him to his closest living relatives, the story of how he might have lived was pieced together.
It’s a story that begins as it did with every Dinosaur, with an egg.