Return of the dinosaurs in all-eating, all-biting show

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The Independent Online

A graphic depiction of the dietary habits of dinosaurs is set to be one of the biggest exhibitions of the summer.

Experts at the Natural History Museum in London will take delivery today of 10 of the most lifelike and spectacular new animatronic dinosaurs ever created in preparation for a new exhibition due to open on 30 June. It will run until April 2007.

The Dino Jaws exhibition is intended to bring to life some of history's most mysterious creatures and provide a fascinating, and sometimes disgusting, insight into what they ate.

Using fossils, hands-on exhibits and animatronics, the exhibition will reveal the dietary habits, and stomach contents, of such beasts as the plant-eating Iguanodon and Euoplocephalus, the fish-eating Baryonyx, the flesh-devouring Velociraptors and the deadly Coelophysis, which fossil evidence suggests were cannibals.

The exhibition will also include three life-size animatronic heads of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brachiosaurus and Edmontosaurus. The moving heads, which are powered by compressed air and a computer, are designed to show the basic anatomical differences between meat-eaters and plant-eaters. While one side of each head is fleshed-out, the other is bare bone to show how the teeth and jaws moved together.

"These are the most impressive dinosaurs I've ever had the chance to work with in the 30 years I've been at the museum," said John Phillips, the senior mechanical engineer.

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