Location: Toronto, Ontario
News Links: Canadian museum unveils long, long-lost dinosaur
We were commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) to remount many of their fossil specimens for the newly constructed east Crystal in the Temerty Galleries. This project involved dismantling, moving, cleaning, consolidating, and remounting 23 original fossil skeletons with hand forged external armatures, relocating 21 mammal skeletons, and moving 9 various sized mammal and dinosaur skeletons to storage. The specimens that were remounted included: Corythosaurus, Lameosaurus, Protoceratops, Allosaurus, Albertosaurus, Stegosaurus, Camptosaurus, Smilodon, Holmesina, Brontothere, Eremotherium, Toxodon, Castoroides, Desmostyle, Marauchenia, Phenacodus, Chasmosaurus, Ornithomimid, Parasaurolophus, Prosaurolphus, Gryposaurus, Edmontosaurus, and Maiasaura.
The dream was for the centrepiece of the new dinosaur hall to be a sauropod (long necked, long tailed, quadrupedal dinosaur). Upon investigation for a specimen to fill this requirement, fate stepped in and almost by accident, it was discovered that the ROM had 50% of a Barosaurus in their collection that had not been catalogued but was identified by Jack McIntosh in the early 1980’s. It is the largest dinosaur ever displayed in Canada and the only Barosaurus the world build with actual fossils. The skeleton is from the Morrison Formation, and was collected by the Carnegie Museum from what is now Dinosaur National Monument, Utah, in the early part of the 20th century. The skeleton was acquired by the ROM in 1962 through a trade organized by former ROM Curator Dr. Gordon Edmund with the intention of installing it in the 1970 dinosaur gallery renovation. Due to a lack of space, the Barosaurus did not make it into the 1970 gallery. After Dr. Edmund retired in 1990, its story was forgotten and all of its pieces were separated on different shelves and in different drawers in the ROM’s collection room. Mounting this massive sauropod brought Dr. Edmund’ 40 year-old dream to reality, but unfortunately only after his passing. To recognize his vision, the museum affectionately nicknamed the specimen “Gordo” in his honour.
The skeleton includes four massive neck vertebrae, a complete set of vertebrae from the back, 14 tail vertebrae, both upper arm bones, both thigh bones, a lower leg, and various other pieces. The entire assembled skeleton is approximately 27 metres in length, and when alive, the animal would have weighed as much as 15 tonnes. The RCI staff worked tirelessly preparing, consolidating, reconstructing, building armatures, and assembling the skeleton in an extremely short 8-week period. Owner of RCI, Peter May, worked closely with paleontologist Dr. David Evans to assure the size and articulation of fossil and sculpted skeletons. “Gordo” is currently on display, in all its grandeur, at the ROM in Toronto, Ontario.