Museum of Natural Science goes to the dinosaurs - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Museum of Natural Science goes to the dinosaurs

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The sight and sound of a large robotic dinosaur can spark almost anyone's curiosity at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Their size and teeth look like something out of science fiction, but some roamed what is now Mississippi. 

"My favorite part is the big heads of the dinosaurs, because it seems like you're actually inside the mouth of one without getting hurt," says 8 year-old Austin, Texas visitor Bracos Hopkins.

Many fossils can still found from when their was very little land in the area. 

"Mississippi was once covered in water and as time progressed one of the areas like Jackson, is a good example, was formed by a volcano eruption. Which the volcano is under the (Mississippi) Coliseum. So, if it ever erupts again this area and the coliseum would be gone," says Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Wildlife Biologist Corey Wright.

The state fossil is a prehistoric whale, but the sharp toothed whale, growing up to 70 feet long also lived where Mississippi is today.

Once land formed there were meat eating raptors. Even the veloso raptor has a Magnolia State connection.

"We were kind of fascinated by the smaller meat eaters that look like the raptors. I guess they are cousins to the raptors over there. Which we didn't realize those type of dinosaurs were around here," says Starkville resident Harry Holliday.

Then their were the family oriented, duck billed plant eaters like the myosaurus.

"The mother had her young, they laid eggs. When the eggs hatched, they were hatchlings. The yearlings lived around them also. So the cool thing about it, you had two different generations of children living together with the mother," explains Wright.

Wright says Mississippi's habitat hasn't changed much over the past 65 million years. There are still plenty of swampy areas and ferns which were some of the first plants and helped dinosaurs survive in the state.

Five types of dinosaurs once lived in the area, now considered Mississippi. The fossils of the animals can still be found in various portions of the state, such as Lee county in the north and Madison and Warren counties in the central portions.

However, many prehistoric animals once lived in the state.

"We had a saber-toothed tiger and a saber-toothed cat," says Wright.

The robotic dinosaur exhibit will be open at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science until January 6, 2013. 

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