The University Record, October 3, 1994

Exhibit Museum seeks ‘sponsors’ of dinosaur bones

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

The Exhibit Museum of Natural History says its dinosaur bones are for “sale.” By “buying a bone,” you can help the Museum mount Michigan’s first Deinonychus skeleton.

Individuals, groups, families, and school classes can help connect those dry bones by sponsoring a tooth ($5), finger bone ($10), femur ($100) or the “Terrible Claw” ($50).

Pound for pound, Deinonychus is considered one of the most ferocious of the dinosaurs with a mouth full of sharp teeth, clawed hands, and a large, sharp claw on the second toe, which it used to rip open its hapless victims.

More than just another set of “bones,” the Deinonychus is important from a scientific view. “Its discovery helped to dispel the idea that all dinosaurs were huge, sluggish beasts,” said John Klausmeyer, one of the Museum’s preparators. “In fact, Deinonychus is very bird-like in many details of its skeleton, and is considered to be closely related to birds. The theory that birds may be a type of dinosaur owes much to the discovery of Deinonychus.”

Four feet tall and nine feet long and weighing between 100 and 150 pounds, Deinonychus was probably warm-blooded, with both its fingers and toes armed with large claws. It hunted in packs and was an active animal designed for speed. The long, stiff tail was used as counterbalance and could be held out rigidly when the Deinonychus ran. This rigidity was also important when the animal needed to balance on one foot while slashing with the other. Its large eyes pointed partly forward, helping it judge distances while leaping. Its brain was particularly large for a reptile.

The Exhibit Museum will send a personalized certificate for each bone sponsored, and sponsors’ names will appear on a permanent donor plaque.

Approximately 80,000 people go through the Exhibit Museum each year.

For more information about the “Buy A Bone” project, or to sponsor a bone, contact the Exhibit Museum, “Buy A Bone,” 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1079, or call 764-0478.