A 67-million-year-old dinosaur was unveiled in Hong Kong today – in the incongruous confines of one of the city’s glitzier shopping malls.
But whether you love or loathe the location for the ‘Meet The T REX’ exhibition, IFC Mall’s Oval Atrium offers plenty of soaring space, not to mention a huge footfall of people each day.
Hued in a rosy glow from surrounding lighting, the 12-metre long Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil has been brought to Hong Kong from Germany for its first ever ‘tour’. The remains were originally discovered in Northwestern Dakota in the US and were excavated and assembled between 2010 and 2014.
The fossil stands at four metres tall, dominating the surrounding coffee and cosmetics outlets, and weighs a staggering two tonnes.
According to Dr Michael Pittman, who leads the Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory at the University of Hong Kong (HKU)’s Department of Earth Sciences, and was officiating at the event launch, Tyrannosaurus Rex was a formidable carnivore.
“It’s jaws were the most powerful ever known, more powerful than a Great White shark or a lion, and its teeth were the largest of any carnivorous dinosaur. It could demolish its prey with ease; even digested bones have been found in coprolite (fossilised faeces) samples.” And contrary to how the T Rex is popularly portrayed in movies, it would have been covered in bird-like feathers rather than scales.
While IFC’s guest visitor would have lived on the north American continent, dinosaur discoveries have also been made in parts of China. However, in Hong Kong findings are so far confined to fossilised fish, some of which date back to the Late Jurassic period, around 147 million years ago.
The Pok Fu Lam-based Department of Earth Sciences at HKU has a small museum of fossilised remains, but as yet there is no dedicated permanent exhibition space in Hong Kong for paleontological exhibits. “The Science Museum recently hosted a temporary exhibition (‘Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs’, which closed in April) and the public is welcome to visit our little display at HKU on weekdays, but yes, obviously a permanent exhibition space is something we would love to see here,” said Dr Pittman.
Highlights of ‘Meet The T Rex’ include a 65 million-year-old thigh bone which the public is free to touch as well as interactive exhibits spread throughout the mall.
Meet The T Rex runs until June 27, 10am-9pm daily, Oval Atrium, IFC Mall, Central, ifc.com.hk/MeetTheTREX