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Ulster Museum

Edmontosaurus dinosaur skeleton

Window on Our World (Nature Zone).

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This is the only real, near complete, dinosaur skeleton on display anywhere in the island of Ireland. It is 6 metres long and more than 2 metres high.

Edmontosaurus was an herbivorous dinosaur that roamed in large herds across the plains of what is now North America. It lived around 70 million years ago, towards the end of the Cretaceous Period.

The Ulster Museum's skeleton comes from a ‘dinosaur graveyard’, a rock layer containing thousands of bones, in South Dakota, USA. A young girl, Ruth Mason, discovered dinosaur bones on her property. Not until 1979 did she finally manage to interest some palaeontologists - by which time she was more than 80 years old!

The palaeontologists opened a quarry, which they named after Ruth. They found bones from hundreds of adult and young Edmontosaurus. They had all died at once, suggesting that a flood had overwhelmed them.

The Ulster Museum's skeleton was the very first excavated from the Ruth Mason Quarry. It went on display here in 1984. Many other Edmontosaurus skeletons in museums around the world have come from this same quarry.

The skeleton is actually made from the bones of several individuals. This is not unusual and is true of many other dinosaur skeletons in museums around the world.