The Metropolitan Museum has, in its collections, a cast reproduction of an Allosaurus skeleton purchased in 1978 from an excavation site in central Utah. When we first assembled our website in 1996 the Allosaurus skeleton was described on one of our web pages. It became one of our most-visited pages even though the skeleton wasn't indigenous to our local area!
We like having visitors to our website so we decided, when rebuilding our website, that our Allosaurus deserved a return engagement! So here's the story:
It was out of this latter effort that an Allosaurus reproduction came to reside at the Riverside Municipal Museum, purchased in 1978.
While the Cleveland-Lloyd quarry has yet to produce articulated remains of individuals, the quantity of material found there made possible the sorting of skeletal elements into sets of compatible proportions and size. Hundreds of bones for each composite skeleton were reproduced in plaster and plastic resin, designed to be mounted on a simple wrought iron framework and painted to resemble the distinctive charcoal black of the original fossils. At the time of the project, accepted interpretation of dinosaur biology allowed for the tail of an Allosaurus to be in contact with the ground (as we see in living lizards and crocodilians), and thus this feature was used to anchor the distinctive tripodal stance seen in all the Cooperative Project’s fossil skeletons and casts. (More recent restorations of Allosaurus depict the animal with a rigid tail lifted high above the ground, roughly level with the skeleton’s fore portions.)
In restoring its cast of a Cleveland-Lloyd Allosaurus, the Municipal Museum has arrived at a new appreciation for the anatomical wonders of this elegantly structured animal. A mature Allosaurus was a large beast: each thigh bone of this particular skeleton runs about 33 inches in length. Proportionally, with the vertebral column assembled, the total creature approaches 28 feet in overall length. The hind limbs are long and give an impression of great running power. The forelimbs, while shorter, do not have the absurdly vestigial appearance we often expect in meat eating dinosaurs. The shoulder assembly is quite large, the limb bones stout, and the claws quite menacing in size and curvature, almost talon-like. Clearly, Allosaurus was able to grasp and tear at its prey with its forelimbs.
The skull, of course, is the most remarkable of all allosaur features, an arched and airy feature more reminiscent of a Gothic cathedral than the ponderous armament of an alligator or other living reptilian predator. In resin (as opposed to rocky fossil material) the cast skull can give a better sense of the lightness of the bony original. The Allosaurus skull appears to have been so delicately constructed, with so many gracefully connected elements, that it seems to have had an unusual propensity for disarticulating during fossilization. Yet for all its lightness, the animal’s remarkably large head was suited to a massive job: parceling prey up into 100-pound bites. Rather like the jaws of a modern snake, the jaws of Allosaurus could expand laterally around large portions of its victim. A flexible joint midway along the lower jaw allowed the bite to be far larger than otherwise possible. The allosaur’s serrated teeth, while much smaller than those of the Tyrannosaurus rex, were just as capable of tearing free large quantities of flesh.
SOURCES: Madsen, James H., Jr. (1976) Allosaurus fragilis: a revised osteology. Utah Geological & Mineral Survey Bulletin 109 Colbert, Edwin H. (1968) Men and Dinosaurs. Dutton. Paul, Gregory S. (1988) Predatory dinosaurs of the world. Simon & Schuster.
The state of California possesses a greater variety of plant species than just about any other comparable geographic area outside of a tropical rainforest. Of this diversity, the Riverside region is endowed with a considerable share, in large part due to the enormous variation in topography and climate that occurs over a relatively small horizontal distance. "As the crow flies", it is possible, in fewer than 10 miles, to travel from below-sea-level saltbush desert to sub-alpine forest communities. As the human population of Southern California continues to boom, some of the Riverside region’s most distinctive plant communities, such as the coastal sage scrub and riparian woodlands, are among the most endangered in the state.
The Museum officially established a Botanical Section in 1954. During the early years, renowned naturalist Edmund C. Jaeger became the museum's Curator of Plants. Facilities for housing a plant collection grew slowly until the late 1970s, when Dr. John C. Roos of Loma Linda offered his personal collection, which included material collected by his father, Alfred Roos, Jaeger, and many others to the Museum. With specimens collected from the 1930s to the 1970s, the Roos collection primarily consists of species from Riverside and surrounding counties in Southern California, plus portions of central California, western Nevada, and northwest Mexico. These Roos specimens became the core Clark Herbarium holdings. The Clark Herbarium is named after Dr. Charles F. and Wilhelmina Husser Clark whose 1949 bequest provided for the establishment of the Botanical Section
3580 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501
Phone: (951) 826-5273
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8193 Magnolia Ave.
Riverside, CA 92504
Open Sept (1st weekend after labor day) to June.
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Last Tour at 3:15 pm
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