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Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs



  • Existence: 1996 - Present



Permanent exhibition. Opened June 1995. Located on Floor 4, Section 13. One of two halls in the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing, the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History displays fossils from one of the two major groups of dinosaurs. Saurischians are characterized by grasping hands, in which the thumb is offset from the other fingers (1). The scientific team of paleontology curators, supervisors, and preparators for the hall installation included Mark Norell, Lowell Dingus, Eugene S. Gaffney, Michael J. Novacek (2, 1995), Jeanne Kelly, Phil Fraley, and Steven Warsavage (3, 1995, p. 6-10).

The Museum reimagined its fossil halls in the 1990s. Chronologically arranged exhibits were updated to reflect evolutionary relationships. The Halls of Saurischian and Ornithischian Dinosaurs, the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing of Mammals and Their Extinct Relatives, which includes the Hall of Primitive Mammals and the Paul and Irma Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals, the Hall of Vertebrates Origins, and the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center were the result of this rearrangement in exhibition (4, 1994/96 p. 5).

The Hall of Saurishcian Dinosaurs features exhibits such as the iconic and imposing mounts of Tyrannosaurus rex, Apatosaurus, and Allosaurus as well as the Glen Rose Trackway, Deinonychus, Coelophysis, and Velociraptor (1).

Branching off the main evolutionary line are alcoves containing smaller groups of dinosaurs within the saurischian family: theropods, marked by a three-toed foot; tetanurans, which have a three-fingered hand; and finally, coelurosaurs, a group of saurischian dinosaurs with relatively long arms. This group includes maniraptors, whose evolutionary branch extends to birds—the only group of dinosaurs alive today (1).

In a corridor leading to this hall, video footage and archival photographs explore the history of paleontology at the Museum from the first fossil expedition in 1891 to the present day. The hall features a Diplodocus pelvis found in 1897, the first fossil dinosaur specimen collected by Museum researchers as well as models of a preparation lab and a fossil site in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Visitors can view a cast of the fossilized remains of a nesting oviraptorid female found in Mongolia in 1994, which confirmed that some dinosaurs incubated their eggs like modern birds (1). In 2007 the new Dinosaurs Halls were renamed as the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing in honor of Trustee David H. Koch (4, 2007/08, p. 4).

(1) American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, accessed September 27, 2016, (2) Browne, Malcolm W. "New Dinosaur Exhibit Underscores Disputes within Paleontology." The New York Times, May 23, 1995. (3) Milner, Richard. "Bringing Back the Dinosaurs." Natural History, vol. 104, May 1995, p. 6-10. (4) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1994/96-2007/08 (5) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 2007-2008. Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications: American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1994-1996 (page 5); 2007-2008 (page 4); 2009 (page 38) American Museum of Natural History Official Guide for years 1993 (page 50); 2001 (Table of Contents, page 14-15, 63)



Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

Building 13: Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, 1995 June 2

 Item — Volume: 11
Identifier: DR 033

Building 13: Nodes -- Sauropodomorphs -- Ceratosaurs -- Carnosaurs -- Ornithomimids -- Maniraptors.

Dates: 1995 June 2

Dinosaur Halls exhibition installation photographic slides, circa 1993-1995.

Identifier: PSC 83

Mostly photographs taken of the AMNH Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs under construction and installation of fossil exhibits.

Dates: circa 1993-1995

Fossil Hall label copy, 1995-1996

 File — Box: 1
Identifier: DR 033
Scope and Contents Three spiral-bound volumes of label copy for exhibits in the AMNH fourth floor fossil halls: Saurischian Dinosaur Hall, February 6, 1995 -- Ornithischian Dinosaurs, February 6, 1995 -- Hall of Vertebrate Origins, 1996.The Hall of Vertebrate Origins volume has a cover page with credits and acknowledgments. Full title: The Hall of Vertebrate Origins: A Guide to Fish, Amphibians, Turtles, Lizards, Crocodiles, and Pterosaurs with an Introduction to the Ira and Miriam D. Wallach...
Dates: 1995-1996

Halls of Ornithischian and Saurischian Dinosaurs photographic slides, undated.

Identifier: PSC 105B

Views of the permanent exhibitions in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs. Includes images of the displays, models and fossil specimens exhibited in the museum.

Dates: undated

Halls of Saurischian and Ornithischian Dinosaurs photographic slides, 1996.

Identifier: PSC 550

Views of the exhibitions in the AMNH Halls of Saurischian and Ornithischian Dinosaurs. Photographs of exhibit cases, dinosaur fossils and models. Also includes some images of staff cleaning the models.

Dates: 1996