It was a unique mission: Logistics giant DB Schenker carried thousands of bones of a giant long-necked dinosaur from Switzerland to the Netherlands. The pieces of the skeleton, more than 150 million years old, are now being assembled and will be on the show to the public in the Oertijdmuseum Boxtel, the largest geological museum in the Netherlands.
Once put together, the skeleton will be 16 meters long and about 7 to 8 meters high. The exhibit will consist mainly of original preserved bones of the dinosaur. Missing elements will be replaced
with models made of plastic. Certainly, a Sisyphean task that will take several years. This, because 80 to 90 bones still need to be carefully carved out of the surrounding pieces of rock.
Does “Aurora” belong to a yet unknown species?
Involved and responsible for the success of this labor-intensive project are about 60 specially trained volunteers and geology students.
Experts at the Oertijdmuseum estimate that the dinosaur belongs possibly to a so far unknown species and is the most complete individual specimen excavated so far.
During its lifetime, the vegetarian giant weighed around 10 to 12 tons. Its fossil remains were found in the U.S. state of Wyoming in the 1990s. From there, they were brought to the Aathal Dinosaur Museum in Switzerland where the Diplodocus was named "Aurora." A second diplodocus, called "Kirby" was also transported to Boxtel by DB Schenker a few years ago and is currently being uncovered and examined by researchers there. Its gender is also still unknown. From head to tail tip, “Kirby” measures even 20 meters, surpassing “Aurora” by four meters.
Careful trucking was key
Nicole Biesheuvel, Vice President Fairs, Events & Special Logistics at DB Schenker BeNeLux was extremely happy that the transport from Switzerland to the Netherlands went well: "We are proud to be providing logistical support for this research project and thus making our contribution to ensuring that the skeleton of this impressive dinosaur can soon be exhibited. As sunlight and vibration can easily damage the fragile fossils, the truck journey was carried out with particular care."
She added to this: "Whether it's an entire factory changing location, special equipment for space research or a valuable exhibit for a museum - this is exactly what special logistics is all about and DB Schenker takes care of.”
Gender and family genealogy still hard to determine
Jonathan Wallaard, curator of the Oertijdmuseum Boxtel stated: "We are not yet sure to which species of the Diplodocus family this specimen belongs. As they are considerably older than most finds, it may well be a previously unknown genus. Since we needed a particularly careful logistics provider for the transport, only DB Schenker came into question."
Further to this, the paleontologist pointed out that tracing the past also enables a better understanding of the future. “If we gain better knowledge about the extinction of living creatures in earlier times, this can also help us to preserve biodiversity today," explained the expert.
Diplodocus "Kirby" will be on public display in Netherland’s Oertijdmuseum Boxtel from the beginning of 2022. “Aurora" will be completed two years later, estimates the museum.
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