Dubai: A massive 155-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton was put on permanent display at The Dubai Mall on Monday evening.
The exhibit is open to free public viewing at the mall’s Grand Atrium and a naming contest is to decide what the female giant will be called.
Registration for the free-to-enter contest can be made through facebook.com/TheDubaiMall, twitter.com/thedubaimall, or instagram.com/thedubaimall. Suggestions can be posted using the hashtag #NameTDMDino.
The winner will receive a five-day/six-night trip for four people — two adults and two children under the age of 12 each — to visit Jurassic Park at Universal Studios, Orlando, USA.
Dubai-based developer Emaar unveiled the attraction — standing almost eight metres tall and stretching nearly 25 metres — and a dedicated onsite team will be sharing insights with visitors.
The prehistoric dinosaur remains are from the late Jurassic period and belong to the Diplodocus longus variety, characterised by an endless whip-like tail, long slender neck and small head.
Nearly 90 per cent of the fossil’s bones are original.
The remains of the adult dinosaur were discovered in a sleeping position in 2008 at the Dana Quarry in the US state of Wyoming. The exhibit was air-freighted from the US to Dubai, the mall says on its website, thedubaimall.com.
The site adds the dinosaur was as heavy as five elephants and vegetarian, gobbling up tree tops without chewing. It stood as tall as five people stacked up and stretched as long as five cars bumper to bumper.
“No comparable exhibit, with nearly all bones completing the skeleton, exists elsewhere. Yes, the dinosaur before you is as real as it gets and complete,” it says.
All bones unearthed were complete and in good condition, with its tail bones bearing signs of apparent injury during its lifetime — possibly from a predator bite or battle trauma, researchers believe.
The specimen was previously displayed at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in the US state of Texas. It was sourced through Khalid Seddiq, founder of Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi.
The exhibit was assembled by a team of paleontologists (fossil scientists).
The dinosaur is said to be the first fossil bone mounted in an upright position and all the bones on exhibit come from the same individual.
Monday’s unveiling — by the removal of huge black curtains — drew dozens of dazzled onlookers snapping pictures. Also present were Raimund Albersdoerfer, a German paleontologist who has chronicled the features of the exhibit, and Joel Bartsch, president and CEO of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Natalie Bogdanova, Senior Director, Business Development & Operations, Emaar Malls Group, said: “The largest creatures to walk on earth, dinosaurs have been popularised through novels and films. Now, for the first time in Dubai, visitors to The Dubai Mall have the opportunity to witness the mind-blowing magnificence of a life-size dinosaur exhibit, which also has the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the world.
“The new exhibit is educational, awe-inspiring, and yet another definitive reason to visit our city and the mall.”
She added: “In addition to the dinosaur exhibit, visitors will have the opportunity to have a closer look at the fossil’s structure through a one-metre-long original bone on display.
“The exhibition will significantly scale up the mall footfall, given the keen interest of dinosaur enthusiasts from around the world, and the unparalleled experience it provides to the visitors.”
The development follows unofficial reports that surfaced in February claiming Emaar planned to exhibit a dinosaur skeleton at its Dubai Mall property.
Emaar had not publicly commented on the then-unconfirmed reports.
According to the reports, carried by multiple media outlets and on Twitter, Emaar purchased the skeleton reportedly for millions of dirhams for a permanent exhibit at the mall.