Words: Hannah Clugston Pictures: Kayti Peschke
Think dinosaurs and you’re likely to think of ferocious beasts roaming around tropical locations. You’re less likely to think of plant munching creatures in Yorkshire. But Yorkshire’s Jurassic World at Yorkshire Museum is here to change all of that with an immersive exhibition that combines cutting-edge technology with a collection of impressive skeletons and fossils.
Split into four sections, visitors can travel back in time to 150 million years ago and explore the deep seas, tropical reefs and dinosaur territories that we now refer to as Yorkshire. Virtual dinosaurs roam across real dino footprints; giant teeth and claws illustrate the size of Yorkshire’s largest Jurassic predator, and hungry sauropods are fed dinner through a virtual reality attraction.
The highlight though is the gigantic sea dragon fossils that come back to life with the use of augmented reality. When holding up an iPad, the impressive skeletons grow skin, detailing how they would have appeared when residing in Yorkshire.
It was this installation that was a firm favourite with Sir David Attenborough, who opened the exhibition. As much as the technology on display adds to our understanding of dinosaurs, Attenborough is still a fossil collector at heart. “The real thing is still really important” he said, when asked what he thought of the use of virtual reality. Hardly a surprising response from a man who spent his childhood in Leicester searching for fossils.
Although now 91, Attenborough is clearly as interested in the planet as he was all those years ago, referring to the world as “full of wonder”. He also has the wisdom of a man who has spent nearly a century exploring the planet, making him a natural spokesperson for environmental concerns. “Certainly, the world is not as rich as it was when I was a boy” he notes. “Future generations will have a much more desolate world than we will.”
Yorkshire’s Jurassic World should go some way towards an enhanced appreciation of the planet, giving us access to the beasts that called Yorkshire home before we did. And Attenborough is fully in support of visiting such exhibitions, stating that museums “enrich your life.”
This is a long-term exhibition and will be open for at least the next two years.