Travel back in time 150 million years at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and meet a fearsome Jurassic beast – the pliosaur

Bristol was a very different place 150 million years ago. Warm seas covered the land where the city stands today and while dinosaurs walked the land and pterosaurs were flying in the skies, marine reptiles dominated the seas.
One of the biggest and fiercest of all was the pliosaur. The length of a bus with sharp teeth the size of bananas, four huge flippers and crushingly powerful jaws, the pliosaur was the ultimate underwater predator. There is nothing alive like them today.
Isla Gladstone, Senior Curator of Natural Science at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery said:
“We have recreated a full-sized interactive model of an eight metre long pliosaur. After a public vote, we named her Doris and visitors will be able to touch her skin, listen to her heartbeat, and smell her disgusting breath! Meeting Doris will be an inspiring and memorable experience for all our visitors and although it’s aimed at children, we’re certain that adults are going to enjoy it in equal measure!”
After meeting the beast, visitors will be transported back to the present day to see one of the world’s most complete pliosaur fossils. Bristol Museum’s specimen is the world’s only known fossil of a species of pliosaur called the Pliosaurus carpenteri. Discovered in Westbury, Wiltshire in 1994, it took ten years to prepare all the fossils that were found.
Laura Pye, Head of Culture at Bristol City Council said:
“We’re delighted that our very special pliosaur is going on display. She is the first of her species and is currently the only example known so she is very special. She is also a relatively complete fossil pliosaur. It is very unusual to have so much of a pliosaur preserved making her very important to science and of international significance. I would like to thank our exhibition sponsors, Clifton High School for their generous support.”
In addition to the exhibition, a Jurassic Explorer guide will take visitors on a journey throughout the museum to discover more about Doris’ world – including exploring the dinosaur, geology and fine art galleries.
‘Pliosaurus! Face to face with a Jurassic Beast’ opens at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on 17 June 2017. Entry to the exhibition is ‘pay what you think’.