U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Eastern Montana BLM dinosaur tours Japan
by Mark Jacobsen, Public Affairs Officer, Eastern Montana/Dakotas District
It’s a familiar scene for B-Movie fans: towering monsters emerging from the depths of the Pacific to wreak havoc on Japanese skyscrapers while residents shriek through city streets and defense forces wither under the onslaught. It’s not Rodan, Mothra or even Godzilla…it’s…JANE?
“Jane” -- the most complete juvenile T. rex yet found -- was the centerpiece of the “World Dinosaur Exposition” recently at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan. It appears that eastern Montana’s famous juvenile Tyrannosaur took Japan in stride, albeit with a lot less destructive drama and much to the adoration of dinosaur lovers across the pond.
Earlier this summer, Scott Williams, field researcher and head preparator of the Burpee Museum in Rockford, Ill., and Director Maureen Mall hand-delivered a portion of Jane’s upper left jaw; on loan for the duration of the exhibit.
Dinosaur exhibitions are nothing new to Osaka’s colossal Kyocera Dome which played host to dinosaurs from the Gobi desert last year.
“This year they (event organizers) wanted to do an expo with Jane as the star,” said Williams. “They purchased a cast of Jane but they were interested in getting her left maxilla because of its interesting pathology…that Jane might have been bit by another juvenile tyrannosaur.”
Jane’s maxilla has attracted the attention of both stateside researchers and Japanese expo planners because of tooth-inflicted punctures which have provided new theories about juvenile theropod (meat-eating dinosaur) interactions.
Williams said that at first, he didn’t think event organizers were serious about the Jane exhibit, until representatives arrived on the museum’s doorstep to discuss their proposition. The group spent a day talking about how the Jane exhibit would be situated at the Kyocera Dome.
As Williams began working through the approval process with Miles City Field Office Lead Archaeologist Doug Melton and Montana/Dakotas State Office Paleontologist Greg Liggett to get a portion of the original jaw –which is the property of the People of the United States—to Japan, he was a bit hesitant. But after the exhibition company’s references checked out, adequate security was addressed and the insurance was covered, things came together.
Part of those stipulations included hand-delivering the fossil. Once Williams and Mall arrived, Japanese Customs officials were involved.
“You’ve got to do a little ‘show and tell,” said Williams. “When I said to the Japanese Customs: ‘Folks, there’s a dinosaur jaw in here,’ about a dozen of them immediately converged on us. The girl who was the main customs person went to grab it, picked it up and said, ‘It’s so light!’”
The original bone was on display with the full-sized replica of Jane’s complete skeleton as well as a big-as-life, animatronic, fully-feathered and colorful version of the young T. rex. The feathered rendition of Jane was also the centerpiece of the exposition’s website banner where Jane straddles the Kyocera Dome amongst other dinosaurs.
As if that isn’t enough, Jane was also the basis for a kid-friendly “Japanimation-type” character named Tirara --who served as the tour guide for the event and featured in commercials and baseball game promotional events. The mascot even sports a “scar” on the left side of its snout, much like Jane.
The Burpee Museum has a website worth checking at: www.burpee.org.
Jane, named after a Burpee Museum benefactor, was discovered in 2001 in Carter County, Montana, when field researchers spotted an exposed toe bone. Jane was the second juvenile T. rex in the world to be recovered, the first one was found in the 1940s –also in Carter County. Since then, researchers continue to discover and debate on the subtle clues revealed by these bones which are held in custodial trust for the citizens of the United States by the Burpee Museum. Each year the BLM issues excavation permits to federally-recognized institutions and repositories for the excavation, conservation and preservation of fossils that reside on American public lands.
|Last updated: 09-12-2013|
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