When it comes to ancient prehistoric beasts like dinosaurs, we cannot help but be intrigued by how they would’ve looked. Science and technology have progressed to a point where scientists can create a rendering of what they think these creatures looked like based on fossil evidence. However, there is something eerily stirring about actually looking at the fossils themselves. Somehow when you look at a rendering, it just feels less real than these preserved fragments of life.
This article will highlight nine of the best photos depicting dinosaur fossils to show just how amazing and real these prehistoric animals were.
Are the Skeletons in Museums Real?
Why look at photos if you can visit a museum and view these fossils in real life? If you have the opportunity to visit a museum that displays dinosaur fossils, we encourage you to do so. Nothing takes your breath away quite like seeing these fossils or dinosaur displays in real life. However, if that’s not an option for you, these amazing photographs can still provide a sense of grandeur and amazement.
It’s important to note that the skeletons on display in most museums consist of casts of fossils and might include a few real fossils. The reason for this is that many of the fossils that have been collected over the years are incomplete, chipped, or broken. Not to mention that these fossils are extremely heavy – we’re talking a couple of tons each. So displaying them becomes increasingly difficult due to the weight. Can you imagine trying to mount a fossil of a Titanosaurus from a museum ceiling?
Another issue is that many of the first discovered and displayed fossils had holes drilled into them to help with mounting. This practice caused irreparable damage and is a reason why many museums opt for using casts where possible to preserve the integrity of the real fossils.
These casts are usually made using lightweight fiberglass and are carefully constructed to mimic even the tiniest detail of the fossil. There are no 100% complete fossils displayed in any museum globally. Even the T-Rex, Sue, displayed at the Chicago Field’s Museum, uses casts. Sue is the most complete T-Rex fossil discovered to date, and even in this fossil, only 250 out of the estimated 380 bones were retrieved.
9 Best Photos of Dinosaur Fossils
Now that we understand how museums can display complete dinosaurs using casts, let’s look at nine of the best dinosaur photos.
Tyrannosaurus Rex Skull
Tristan Otto is the name given to another one of the most complete T-Rex displayed in Europe. The above photo is of his skull. This is one of the few nearly complete skulls of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the deep black skull is part of a privately owned skeleton consisting of 170 fossils out of an estimated 300. This skull is on display at the Museum für Naturkunde in Germany.
The above fossil of the small dinosaur, Sinosauropteryx prima, was discovered in 1996 in China. This fossil is also recognized as the first known feathered dinosaur. You can see the impressions of downy plumage represented by the darker indentations around the fossil in the fossil.
The above photo depicts a fossil that’s approximately 200 million years old. The photo depicts the dainty carnivore, Coelophysis bauri, with its head and neck bent over the spine. This pose is known as the ‘Death Pose’, and many dinosaur fossils have been discovered in this position. Experts believe that it’s due to the shrinking ligaments during decomposition that forces the skeleton into this position.
This stunning photo shows four fossilized dinosaur eggs. It’s believed that these belonged to a sauropod, the largest of all the dinosaur species, although it’s difficult to be sure which one. While sauropod fossils and fossilized eggs have been found across most parts of the world, this specific fossil hails from China. Each of these eggs is expected to be about the size of a large grapefruit.
The above photo depicts the skull of an Allosaurus fragilis. This dinosaur was known as the Apex predator of its time and roamed across the western United States unopposed about 150 million years ago. This fossil is still encased in stone and displayed at the Quarry Exhibit Hall of the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
Although not technically a pure fossil photo, the above image depicts exhibition workers putting the final touches on a Spinosaurus aegyptiacus exhibit. This 40-foot long installment, along with the workers in the photo, gives a clear indication of the size of this dinosaur. For a long time, it was difficult to find enough fossils to get a clear picture of these dinosaurs, but a recent dig (2018-2019) uncovered the most complete fossil to date in the Moroccan Sahara.
Tyrannosaurus Rex – Up Close
We just had to include this amazing close-up of the T-Rex called Trix’s jaw and teeth. Trix is displayed in the Natural History Museum of Leiden in the Netherlands after being discovered in 2013 in Montana. This fossilized skeleton is 80% complete, landing Trix firmly in the handful of the most complete T-Rex skeletons found to date.
The skull in the above photo comes from a relative of the triceratops called Kosmoceratops Richardson. These dinosaurs were believed to be roughly the size of a modern-day rhino. What makes the skull so interesting is the many adornments. This species had 15 hours and frills on its skull. Scientists believed they were mostly used for attracting mates and battling rivals – rather than defense.
The above photo features the skull of a Velociraptor mongoliensis. These dinosaurs were made popular by the Jurassic Park movies, even though they weren’t depicted very accurately. Based on fossil evidence, it’s believed these dinos were much smaller than depicted in the movies. They are thought to have reached 1.6 feet high and weighed about 33 pounds. The skull in the photo is one of the most complete discovered.
Dinosaur fossils are extremely interesting, and they provide us with so much information on these amazing prehistoric animals. Not to mention, they also look extremely cool. While the displays we see in museums might not be 100% fossil, it’s still amazing to get a real-life sense of these preserved creatures.