On this episode of Yinzer Backstage Pass, I discovered a secret part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
I met paleontologist and principal dinosaur researcher, Matt Lamanna, in an underground tunnel at the Oakland museum before we entered the Big Bone Room. Like the name suggests, the room is packed with shelves of massive fossils that are tens (and sometimes hundreds) of millions of years old.
This is where they keep parts of Dippy, (aka Diplodocus carnegii) that aren’t on display in the dinosaur exhibit upstairs. A lower jaw from the first-ever T-Rex is housed in the Big Bone Room too. It’s also where they keep bones that are too fragile to be put on display.
Matt explains that this room functions as something like a library for dinosaur bones. The museum puts its best fossils on display but the extra ones down here are more easily accessible to paleontologists and researchers.
Matt doesn’t only take care of these bones – he also regularly goes out into the field to discover more species of dinosaurs. He’s even been able to name a couple of dinosaurs himself, including a bizarre ostrich-like dinosaur he dubbed Anzu wyliei, which has become known as the “chicken from hell.” Matt also casually mentioned that he recently heard from a colleague who told him that another dinosaur he named was name-dropped in the latest “Jurassic World” movie.
And yes, there’s a Little Bone Room too just across the hall from the Big Bone Room. We might have to visit it in a future installment. It’s just another of the many cool, hidden spots in the museum. A few months back we also paid a visit to the alcohol house, where they store hundreds of thousands of reptiles and amphibians.
If you want more Yinzer Backstage Pass, check out last week’s episode — we visited a cornfield on top of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.