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Long-necked dinosaurs raise their heads

The Sauropods are less frightening than some other museum specimens

(Keystone Archive)

The complete skeletons of three Sauropods are being displayed for the first time in Europe at the Swiss dinosaur museum until May 5.

After 150 million years buried under sandstone in the Wyoming desert, and following 25,000 hours digging and painstaking restoration, the Sauropods have been put on display at the Saurier Museum in Aathal, north of Lake Zurich.

The long-necked, plant-eating Sauropods were the largest land animals ever known. The smallest were at least ten metres in length and the largest grew up to 38 metres.

The three reassembled specimens at the Saurier Museum are a ten-metre Camarasaurus dubbed "ET", an 18-metre Diplodocus named "HQ1" and a 17-metre Apatosaurus known simply as "Max".

The museum says that ET is one of the best-preserved and therefore most valuable Sauropod skeletons in the world.

Rare find

Max is a rare find, and it was not until a few years ago that the right head was put on the Apatosaurus. In 1897, palaeontologists assigned it the wrong skull, and the mistake was not corrected until 100 years later.

The Sauropods join several other complete skeletons on show at the museum - the fruit of the labours of museum director, Hans Jakob Siber, who has spent the past ten years excavating in North America.

Visitors to the museum can also look over the shoulders of technicians preparing dinosaur bones.

The three Sauropods are being presented under a large tent in the museum grounds. After May 5, ET, HQ1 and Max begin a world tour beginning in Japan.

swissinfo


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