By Carlos Augusto Chamarelli
Hey everybody, once again things are a little slow on my side because I couldn’t decide what my next article would be, because what I was going to talk about proved to be rather polemical within EN, so until then here’s a little something to general amusement and despair.
As you can guess from the title, this post is about a dinosaur expo, a terrible one at that. See unlike other countries paleontology as a whole in Brazil is rather lacking, so dinosaur expos are hard to come by. Good dinosaur expos are even harder.
I do remember one exceptional expo that took place when Jurassic Park was first released in Brazil, but it’s possible I thought because I was 4 at the time and dinosaurs were awesome no matter what, but I don’t have many memories of it. Specially because the huge, roaring animatronic beasts terrified me. To this day I’m not entirely sure if it was Dinamation’s exhibit, and I’m still unable to find the photos we took there (where I remember always appearing with a cringe of sheer terror mixed with marvel).
So after that everything went downhill because every dinosaur expo I came across ranged from “kind of bad” to “crap”. And no, I’m not being harsh, “crap” is the perfect analogy for some of them. Really.
That being said, let’s take a look of one which I actually bothered taking pictures of. This one took place in Shopping Via Brasil (which seemingly sprung out of nowhere) in Irajá, Rio de Janeiro, in 2011 I believe.
Not picture because I just took photos inside the thing: the ugliest Velociraptor right at the mall’s entrance, the huge and hideous Tyrannosaurus skull with an actual picture of a Tyrannosaurus skull right behind it (how come nobody looked at it and said “hey, they don’t look like each other”), the entrance ticket with Jurassic Park’s logo and a mini-cinema exhibiting Disney’s Dinosaur…. Yeah
Apart from the deformed and slightly human-like arms, this Stegoceras is not that bad since they actually tried to make the skull have mostly the right shape. Also the atrocity is lessened by what was right next to him: the disembodied neck of a “Camarasaurus” (with the head of a Diplodocus) that stood in the back of what looked like a circus arena….
This is what the Velociraptor at the mall entrance looked like. What can I say? The lack of feathers is the last of the concerns here. How can these even be called “raptors” if they didn’t even bothered to give them the trademark feet claws? I swear I thought they were Herrarasaurus, which would make everything a bit less shameful.
This one got me by surprise, I would never expect to see Therizinosaurus in such low-end expo. It’s also interesting because unlike the Velociraptors they did used feathers to coat the model. Very badly, but feathered nonetheless. Maybe he has such aghast expression because he know they stole the zebra-therizinosaurus idea from either Luis Rey or that CGI model from Dorling Kindersley. I’m guessing the latter.
I’ll never understand why they put an rhinoceros in the exhibit… Wait, that’s Styracosaurus? Yipes, moving on…
What you mean Ice Age beasts aren’t dinosaurs? At least compared to the dinosaurs, these are quite tolerable. The mammoth is as good as one can make a mammoth look good when covering it with hair, but the static Smilodon will always remind me of another appalling expo that seemingly consisted entirely of Smilodons scattered in dark rooms lit by pulsating lights and walls covered by palm tree leaves made of fabric.
And you were thinking I was being harsh when I said some were crap.
And there was a crocodile-like Dimetrodon next to them for no good reason.
No, that’s not the perspective being wonky, this is what this mockery of a Tyrannosaurus looked like in profile. I have nothing to add to this other that the most infuriating part was that…
… There was a much bigger and impressive (and slightly less inaccurate) animatronic Tyrannosaurus right next. This was the last thing in the expo, and with good reason it seems. Even with the huge feet and sounds stolen directly from Jurassic Park, this one was life-sized, which made it best than most I’ve seen…. And look, there’s the hideous skull behind him.
As with other exhibits, this one wasn’t the longest, but thankfully it wasn’t the most expensive, and I could learn a lesson out of it: research about the expo before you go.
I have hopes one day Brazil will once again see a decent dinosaur exhibit like the one I barely remember, but until then the average brazilian is stuck with sucky depictions while us dinomaniacs can only laugh and facepalm.
Stay tuned for my next article. See ya!