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Detailed information on the exhibits, research projects, and programs tailored for journalists. For more information or questions please contact Burke Museum Public Relations.

January 23, 2004

Dinosaurs of Darkness Coming to Seattle

March 25 - October 10, 2004

Seattle -- Dinosaurs of Darkness is a riveting international touring exhibit featuring recently discovered dinosaurs that lived in the extreme polar regions of the globe, where darkness reigned in winter and temperatures plunged below freezing. Learn about the unusual dinosaurs of Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, and South America when Dinosaurs of Darkness comes to the Burke Museum in Seattle this spring. See full skeletons, models, fossil bones, and paintings that tell the fascinating story of how dinosaurs lived in these cold, dark places.

Dinosaurs of Darkness is the first touring exhibit on polar dinosaurs. It kicks off the Burke's "Year of the Fossil," a twelve-month program on paleontology and fossil education. Created by the Monash Science Centre in Melbourne, Australia, Dinosaurs of Darkness is based on many exciting fossil discoveries made over the past two decades. The exhibit presents cutting-edge paleontology in an accessible way and has toured around the world, including Australia, Argentina, and Japan. The Burke Museum is the only West Coast venue.

Dinosaurs from four continents (Australia & New Zealand, Antarctica, Alaska, and South America) are the highlights of the exhibit, including some full complete skeletons, models, skulls, eggs and nests, dinosaur mummies, teeth, and bones. Supplementing the specimens are a series of paintings showing the dinosaurs in their polar habitats, fleshed models of both a carnivore and herbivore, and videos that bring the animals to life.

Photographs document the years of difficult field work out on the frozen tundra and research back in the labs. The exhibit is also supported with interactive computer games and puzzles.

Very little was known about these creatures until the 1980s when scientists from the Monash Science Centre began a series of excavations in Alaska, southeast Australia, Antarctica, and other remote locales. About two hundred million years ago, these places were deep within the polar regions but they were warmer than today.

However, the dinosaurs inhabiting these areas endured harsher conditions than any other dinosaurs throughout the world, as well as many months of bleak darkness. Fossil skulls show that a few dinosaurs had large optic lobes that probably allowed them to see in very low light.

The exhibit is presented by Monash Science Center, Melbourne, and the Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston, Australia. The exhibition is sponsored by Qantas Airlines.

The "Year of the Fossil" features cutting edge paleontology programs for visitors of all ages:

Family Event: Dinosaur Day
Sat., March 6
10 am - 5 pm, Burke Lobby
Real science, real fossils, real fun! Dinosaur Day is one of the Burkes most popular family events, featuring rarely seen specimens from the collections, scientists demonstrating how to excavate bones, and numerous craft and hands-on activities. Make dinosaur paper chains, fossil rubbings, and see dinosaur bones close up!

Burke Lecture: The Search for Extreme Dinosaurs ~ Denizens of the Polar Latitudes
Thurs., March 18
7 pm, UW Kane Hall, room 120
Special Guest Speaker: Dr. Pat Vickers-Rich, Professor of Paleontology, Monash University, Australia
$5 general, $3 seniors/students: at door only
The curator and chief researcher for Dinosaurs of Darkness will give a fascinating account of research into the world of polar dinosaurs 200 million years ago.

Target Dinosaurs
Sat., March 27
10 am - 5 pm Burke Museum
Learn about the people who dig dinosaurs. Meet the curator of Dinosaurs of Darkness, Dr. Patricia Vickers-Rich, take tours of the exhibit Dinosaurs of Darkness, watch a "fossil preparator" work with fossils, and learn about the tools of the trade from the experts! A "Meet the Scientists" panel discussion on women in geology will also be held at 2:30pm in the Burke Room.

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The Burke is located at the corner of NE 45th St and 17th Ave NE on the UW campus. Hours are 10 am - 5 pm daily, and until 8 pm Thursday. The Museum Store and Museum Cafe are also open during these hours. Admission to the permanent exhibits is $6.50 general, $5 senior, $3 student/youth, FREE to Burke members, children 5 and under, UW faculty, students, and staff. For 24-hour information, please call 206-543-5590, or visit www.burkemuseum.org

(206) 543-9762; FAX (206) 616-1274