Like the children who came before and after me, I, too, went through a dinosaur phase—an obsession with toys, comic books, movies, novels and archaeological journals related to the clade of vertebrates Sir Richard Owen established as “Dinosauria” in 1842. Theirs was an entire alien world that could coexist simultaneously in the past and the present, the imagination and reality. And what better place to be immersed in the irrefutable, fossilized evidence of the Mesozoic Era than the cathedral of “Dinosauria” devotion, the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan?
Though this was far from our first rodeo, and there are countless other spectacular examples in their world-famous fossil halls, I specifically ventured to AMNH, perched on the threshold of magnificent Central Park West, for the must-see exhibition of a cast of a Titanosaur skeletal fossil. Titanosaurs were sauropod dinosaurs, a group which included some of the largest and heaviest creatures to walk the earth, in the forest of today’s Patagonia, during the Late Cretaceous Period. At a length of 122 feet and just under 19 feet tall, its grandeur did not disappoint. From head to tail, the replica spans the entirety of Wallach Orientation Center, nearly scraping the ceiling, and a portion of its neck and head spill out into the adjoining elevator banks. Mouths agape, we could only imagine what it would look like in the flesh—all 70 speculated tons of it. Even my attempts at capturing it (using Panorama and Photosphere, mind you) proved rather ineffectual. Yes, it’s that big!