News Column

Dino Days bares bones

June 24, 2014

By Nate Strauch, Herald Democrat, Sherman, Texas



June 24--"The big guys are here."

Sherman Museum Director Dan Steelman has a passion for Dino Days. Seated at his desk Tuesday afternoon, the excitement in Steelman's voice was palpable as he proclaimed the now-yearly arrival of the 'saurs exhibit, which kicks-off its three-month run this week.

"I think people just appreciate the fact that they don't have to go to Dallas or wherever to see a dinosaur exhibit; they can do it right here in Sherman," said Steelman. "These creatures are fascinating because they're so unique."

Now in its third year, the staff at the Sherman Museum has worked to expand Dino Days progressively each summer, and this year is no exception, said Steelman.

"It's definitely grown and changed. It started out with basically just a bunch of skulls. Then last year, we decided we'd try to do a complete skeleton and we did three complete skeletons. This year, we'll have four complete skeletons. We have multiple dinosaurs and they're all interacting with each other."

At the museum Tuesday, the remains of a teenage allosaurus were posed in an attack stance, with a skeletal stegosaurus providing its hypothetical prey. Steelman pointed-out several real-life injuries visible on the stego's bones, including a broken rib and an infected tail injury likely sustained in a fight. In the coming weeks, a protoceratops and velociraptor will join the fray.

"People are familiar with velociraptors through 'Jurassic Park,' but that's not the real velociraptor," said Steelman. "The real velociraptor was about the size of a turkey and covered with feathers -- very mean, but not nearly as smart."

The exhibit is geared toward local school-aged children, and was designed with family-friendliness in mind, said museum staff.

"That's one of the things I'm really trying to do, is to bring in families to the museum," said Steelman. "Once school gets back in session, I'm hoping that maybe some teachers who came out and saw it during the summer would think it'd be worthwhile for their classes. ... It's the children who love it the most."

Dino Days will run through the end of September, showcasing not only the aforementioned skeletons but several smaller dinosaur-themed displays as well. Steelman said the annual event has grown into one of the museum's most popular attractions, a development he said that's easy to understand.

"We're just totally blessed to be able to do this sort of thing," said Steelman. "Dinosaurs are just cool. That's not very scientific, but that's just it."

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(c)2014 the Herald Democrat (Sherman, Texas)

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Source: Herald Democrat (Sherman, TX)