JANE's skull to remain on display at Burpee

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11188573406466.jpg’, ‘Image provided’, ‘The newly created reconstruction of the skull of the unidentified dinosaur, JANE, will be open to the public until June 29.’);

Between now and June 29, visitors to Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford can come face-to-face with a newly created reconstruction of the skull of the Museum’s famous, but still unidentified, dinosaur, Jane.

The one-of-a-kind skull—unveiled for the first time during the Museum’s recent PaleoFest celebration—is an accurate cast based on Jane’s actual skull bones with sculpted elements filling in for the missing bones.

“We’re keeping her on display due to popular demand,” said Lew Crampton, Burpee Museum president/CEO. “After PaleoFest, our initial plan was to hide her in the lab until the exhibit opened. But so many people wanted to see her that we’ve decided to display her skull outside the lab until the exhibit opens in June.”

In life, Jane’s skull contained more than 30 individual bones. After she died, the bones split apart, and some became lost altogether. Burpee Museum has 23 of Jane’s original skull bones.

Discovered in 2001 in southeastern Montana by Burpee Museum staff and volunteers, Jane is a remarkably complete and highly important dinosaur that lived 66 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous. For the past three years, paleontologists from around the world have traveled to Burpee Museum in Rockford to see Jane and study her bones. Although her exact identity remains a mystery, it’s certain she belongs to the tyrannosaurid family of dinosaurs—the same group that contains T. rex.

On June 29, Jane’s mounted skeleton will be revealed to the public as the centerpiece of a new exhibit called Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur. Visitors will be able to follow Jane on her amazing journey from a living animal to an unexpected discovery to a paleontological celebrity. In addition to Jane’s skeleton, the exhibit will include computer-generated animations, hands-on inter-actives, and a life-sized fleshed-out model of Jane’s head.

Until the exhibit opens, the reconstructed skull will be the only part of Jane on view to the public.

Jane’s skull is included with general museum admission of $5 for adults and $4 for children. Members and children younger than 3 are admitted free. Wednesdays are free to all. Free parking is available at the museum and at the adjacent Riverfront Museum Park.

Burpee Museum of Natural History is one of the pre-eminent natural history museums in Illinois. Its mission is to inspire all people to engage in a lifetime of learning about our natural world.

Info: 965-3433, ext. 1005.

From the June 15-21, 2005, issue

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