Exhibit Hall

Now Open on Level 4

Meet the ancient rulers of our planet as you examine fossil replicas of dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures. Orlando Science Center showcases the dinosaurs in their disparate land and aquatic settings as guests become part of a paleontological excavation site.

  • Uncover 'fossils' in the dig pit and examine fossilized dino eggs
  • Explore displays that feature ancient land and marine reptiles
  • Compare reptiles and dinosaurs to see similarities and differences
  • Discover denizens of the ancient oceans such as Elasmosaurus and Tylosaurus


It’s hard imagine the Florida of millions of years ago until you’re walking on a beach and stumble upon an enormous prehistoric shark tooth. What once roamed these lands? Was Tyrannosaurus rex tromping through the woods hunting for prey while brachiosaurs munched leaves off nearby trees? Actually no, back then Florida was underwater.

Once Florida as we know it emerged from the receding waters about 25 million years ago it became inhabited by various types of creatures. I wasn’t kidding about those enormous shark teeth, there was Megalodon whose name literally means “giant tooth,” with teeth about seven inches long. Moving into the woods, there were giant sloths called Megatherium hanging about that happened to be bigger than Woolly Mammoths. Running free on the plains were horses ranging from the size of deer to the size of a modern Clydesdale. They would have had to outrun several types of large cats ranging from the lion-like Barbourofelis to the saber-toothed Smilodon (which would go so far as to pounce and prey on Woolly Mammoths).

So who knows someday as your standing on a riverbed you may reach down to find fossilized alligator poop or giant beaver tooth incisors. Here in Florida the chances of finding fish fossils are higher than finding those of a bird (as they’re more fragile). Most fossils will tend to be five to ten feet under the surface whether they be embedded in the sand at the beach or stuck in a river bed.

Make sure to research the laws regarding fossil hunting and purchase a yearly permit for five dollars as well. Know before going into the field that depending on where you find your fossil and its scientific significance your finding may be confiscated by the state. Not every type of fossil hunting is regulated; one may search for shark teeth and plant fossils without a permit.

Happy fossil hunting!


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Have you ever heard of Dr. Linda Webster? We hadn't either, but it turns out, she's the newest addition to the DinoDigs team. Dr. Webster is actually a fictional character who is adding a new take on the exhibit signs in DinoDigs. Recently, each sign panel was taken out and replaced by  Dr. Webster's field journals, notes and memos.

The signs give guests a new way of looking at the exhibits and include interesting facts about each dinosaurs such as where they lived and what they ate. More importantly, they provide an opportunity for critical thinking, asking guests questions that require them to use the knowledge they gained to form their own hypotheses.

According to Kim Hunter, Senior Director of Exhibit Development here at the Science Center, the new signs help play an important role in the visitor experience. "The new interpretations in DinoDigs allow guests to pretend they are an actual paleontologist," Kim noted. "Along with some interesting information about each dinosaur, you can see what the field of paleontology is like and the processes these professionals use through the eyes of a fictitious scientist."

So, the next time you're in DinoDigs, make sure you meet Dr. Webster. You'll be glad you did!


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FoxNews.com asks the question, “Is there a little Fred Flintstone in you?” Genetic analysis over the past decade suggests the answer is yes. In 2010, researchers were able to sequence the Neanderthal genome, as well as to the DNA of existing humans who are not from sub-Saharan Africa (including Australia). What the scientists found was evidence that the Neanderthals are to thank for part of our X chromosome, haplotype. Scientists were able to trace our DNA back about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago, the period when modern humans reportedly left Africa. Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago and evolved mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. Neanderthals went “extinct” about 30,000 years ago when they were absorbed by modern human population. Despite the time gap, genetic material from Neanderthals means the two populations interbred.

DiscoveryNews.com explained, “Neanderthals possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool craftsmanship skills, so they must have not been all that unattractive to modern humans at the time.” The research, published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution, is the result of work by an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal, and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The group is continuing their research on the Neanderthal and human connection, but for now, their findings have them saying, “yabba-dabba-do!” Here are some interesting facts about Neanderthals.


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: gservices@osc.org
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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