When the “Dinosaurios Hechos En Mexico” exhibition at the Planetario Alfa opened a few months ago I was impressed by the pictures, even if I couldn’t be at the opening. I knew that between Peter Norton‘s Gondwana Studios and myself teaming with top Mexican palaeontologists René Hernández, Angel Ramírez and Ricardo Servín Pichardo we all have done a good job… But what I wasn’t expecting is how impressed I would be seeing it in person.
Despite a few technical glitches -Angel noted immediately there were a couple of mistakes among the locations’s in the information panel and, given the size of the murals I also noticed some unfinished touches in my own digital paintings- we could only be in awe of the excellent printing and mounting job. The 3D dramatic quality of the murals came out of the walls, almost literally, rivalling with the inevitable animatronic sculptures. Perhaps the rivalry was too much in some cases like Yehuecauhceratops. where my Angel Ramírez-corrected version showed at the back of the old version of the ceratopsian! Or the paradox of seeing the tyrannosauroid Labonania with “feathers “(mural) and without feathers (animatronic)!
The murals were also used to an even bigger effect and size in the Planetario Alfa stand at the Monterrey Book Fair at the Parque Fundidora, where Carmen Naranjo gave the first of her famous workshops for kids.
We all worked relentlessly for two days, including another workshop for children by Carmen Naranjo, guided tours of the exhibition by the three of us culminating in a sell-out conference by René Hernandez, Angel Ramírez and myself (unfortunately Ricardo Servín was not there) that, being at the end of Saturday was perhaps too much for parents staying at the museum with their children since ten o’clock in the morning!
In all we have to thank the Planetario Alfa staff and organisers , including of course Rosy Bustindui, Maya María, Norma Guajardo and Angélica Flores for their support and a very successful sold-out Dino Fest weekend. Hope this can be repeated soon. I think the pictures speak for themselves. Tens of thousands have visited and continue to visit the exhibition.
Next weekend, yet another event at the Museo de Geología this time in in Mexico City, where there was a round of weekly talks regarding the first mounted Mexican dinosaur commonly known as Isauria (Latirhinus) organised by Arturo PC (with special thanks to him for this opportunity). The Geology Museum at the Santa María La Ribera quarter is such a familiar place for me. I had again the opportunity and pleasure to meet quite a few paleo-fans, give some prints and even sign some old and new, well-used books!
But the icing of the cake was an extraordinary conference/meeting at Ricardo Servín Pichardo and René Hernández paleobiology workshop at the UNAM. “Bringing Dinosaurs Back To Life“ and “Dinosaurios Hechos En Mexico” met with no sore-throats, no nerves… just plain fun with an extremely receptive audience of students.
Among them was the indefatigable, multi-talented sculptor and Gaston Design illustrious pupil, Héctor Munive “Splintersaurus” and his son Elliott, that surprised me with a couple of really memorable presents: an exquisite, multicoloured with thousands-beads, skull of T. rex “Huichol style” and a fabulous miniature sculpture by the extremely talented eleven-year-old, paleontoartist (as Angel Ramírez liked to call us), Elliot Munive of a Therizinosaurus over the nest, mirroring and complementing closely a painting of mine with the same theme.
I was simply overwhelmed. The classroom session lasted for three hours and continued for another three hours and more, meeting of friends, signing posters for the student attendants, and signing, you guessed it, copies of the Holtz/Rey Random House “Dinosaurs: The Most Complete Encyclopedia For All Ages” that is still quite popular.
I would like to add a special mention to César Daniel García… in his words: he was giving-up studying Palaeontology until changing his mind after my talk at the classroom in the UNAM. I think that was a moment that made worthwhile the whole effort of this trip. Wishing him all the luck he deserves.
I would like to extend may special thanks to René and all the students (too many to name) and Ricardo Servín Pichardo (the rising paleo-star in the old René Hernández classroom and now responsible not only for many achievements like directing the restoration of Diplodocus or Isauria, but also for the education of many future palaeontologists), Rubén Molina Pérez and Eduardo Varela that stayed with us until the very end, and also the hospitality of Angel Ramírez, Rosario Chavarría and Angel’s wonderful mom! Angel left us to go on a trip to the North that will give us a surprise dinosaur discovery very soon… and I will be ready to reconstruct it with his advice as usual!
It is a fact that dinosaurology is extremely popular in Mexico, and considering the material that is constantly being excavated and brought to the fore these last years, I think that an exhibition like the one at the Planetario Alfa is mandatory anywhere in the country, but specially in Mexico City, if possible enhanced and expanded with even more restorations, murals and mounted casts of Mexican Dinosaurs… and we have not only plans but the resources…any takers?