Oct. 17--Steelers safety Ryan Clark had an unexpected tour guide when he got a sneak peak at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's new dinosaur exhibit.
"My 6-year-old, Jordan, loves dinosaurs," Clark said. "He showed me around (the exhibit) and told me about them. It was great."
To show their thanks for the tour, Clark and his wife, Yonka, "adopted" a stegosaurus bone for their little dinosaur-lover. They also adopted a triceratops bone and a Tyrannosaurus rex bone for Jordan's sisters, Jaden, 8, and Loghan, 2.
On Tuesday, museum officials opened the bone adoption process to the public. Ranging from $25 for a tooth to $10,000 for a T. rex skull, bone adopters receive a "certificate of adoption" and will have their names on a plaque in the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit, which opens the day before Thanksgiving.
"Adopters, of course, can't take the bones home -- the curators really don't like that -- but they can visit," said Dave Smith, acting co-director of the museum. "It makes an incredible holiday gift."
Officials hope the adoption campaign will raise $200,000 to help pay for the $36 million dinosaur hall renovation, $33 million of which already has been raised.
The project -- the largest renovation ever at the museum -- increases the dinosaur exhibit space from 5,000 square feet to 18,600 square feet. The 19 skeletons -- which used to be lined up in dull poses against the museum's marble walls -- are dynamically positioned amid replicas of the plants and animals they likely lived with.
"We hope that children visiting Dinosaurs in Their Time will be inspired to learn more," said paleontologist Matt Lamanna, the scientific advisor for the exhibit,. The goal is to "trigger an interest in science that lasts a lifetime," he said.
The bones are adopted on a first-come, first-served basis. Once a bone is paid for, no one else can adopt it. The teeth, however, are in unlimited supply and the same tooth can be adopted by multiple people.
"We actually have scientific justification for this," Lamanna said, explaining that dinosaurs -- like sharks -- had an unlimited supply of teeth. If they lost one, a new one would soon grow to replace it.
Because it opened the adoption program early to a select few, 796 of the 2,065 bones already have been adopted, raising $70,584.
David Newell -- Mr. McFeely of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" -- adopted a stegosaurus bone.
"Pittsburgh is a wonderful neighborhood, and I couldn't wait to adopt my bone," Newell said. "I practically grew up in this museum -- I remember coming here when I was 3, 4 years old."
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Source Citation:"A bone to pick at the Carnegie Museum." The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh, PA) (Oct 17, 2007): NA. General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 25 Aug. 2009
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