Jane, the dinosaur, Rockford’s next star

Rockford’s own juvenile T. rex makes big screen debut

It was no mystery Friday, June 9, who the fastest-rising star in Rockford was going to be as dinosaur enthusiasts gathered at Coronado Theatre for a sneak peak of The Mystery Dinosaur, an hour-long TV documentary about the Discovery Center’s Jane.

Thought originally to be a Nanotyrannosaurus, a smaller version of the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, the movie dazzled children and adults alike with the question of Jane’s true identity.

Director and Producer Dave Monk of Brave New Pictures previewed his movie before the program will be aired internationally on the Discovery and Science channels.

“It’s a human interest story,” said Monk before the debut of his program. “[It is] focused on those who discovered it and the town they’re from.”

The documentary followed Rockford natives to southeastern Montana into Hell’s Creek in search of dinosaur bones. This fossil-rich area of Montana was bound to reveal something for the archeologists and amateurs on the trip. They did not expect to find the near-complete remains of a T. rex as it appeared.

The documentary examined the evidence for two schools of thought concerning the prehistoric carnivore’s true identity. One group of archeologists and scientists claimed the skeleton was that of a baby T. rex. But the other group was certain the fossils were that of a Nanotyrannosaur, a smaller, and much rarer, cousin of the T. rex.

The story of 65 million-year-old Jane will reach a wide audience as 40 million households are expected to see the program. Both the Discovery and Science channels will also show The Mystery Dinosaur to 50 countries worldwide. The joint Burpee Museum and Discovery Center project will reach a large audience and not only show off Jane, but Rockford as well.

The Coronado Theatre was packed with children and parents eager to see the program, which was introduced by Alan Carlson, Board of Trustees chairman for Burpee Museum. Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey also made an appearance.

The crowd loudly applauded when Carlson recognized Jane Solem of Burpee Museum, the namesake of Jane, the Dinosaur, and the Solem Wing of Burpee Museum.

Morrissey emphasized the importance of this program and the impact it will have on the community.

The international debut of this production and its showing on the Discovery and Science channels will bring more tourism to Rockford. People will come to Rockford, the mayor predicted, to see the mystery dinosaur.

From the June 14-20, 2006, issue

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