Muscat: Three electric dinosaur sculptures are expected to be installed at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in April and May, replacing the dinosaur, which was taken down last week.
Students said the old dinosaur, a Diplodocus,was damaged by heavy rains which struck many parts of Oman last week.
However, Abdullah Ali Al Fahdi, technician superintendent at the SQU geology department, said “The new sculptures have been ordered from China to replace the older dinosaur, because it was cracking and getting old.”
After it survived extreme weather conditions for more than three years, the dinosaur of the College of Science said farewell to SQU last Wednesday morning.
The new statues (Saltasaurus, Stegosaurus, eggs with a baby dinosaur) can move and make sounds, and are to be located at the College of Science, according to Al Fahdi.
The 1.7 meter-tall Saltasaurus weighs 450 kg and can open and close its mouth, move its head and swing its tail, while the 350 kg Stegosaurus makes breathing sounds, and moves its mouth and tail.
All statues are built with high quality materials, including a metal frame, high density sponge and silicone.
Speaking of the importance of the project, Al Fahdi explained that students at the College of Science take courses in Paleontology, which highlights fossils through geological times and analyses dinosaur body types and skeletons.
“It is also interesting for school students visiting SQU to learn about these animals while listening to their voices and watching them move,” Al Fahdi added.
He noted that in 1990 and 1999, geologists in Oman discovered dinosaur bones in the Al Khoudh area, which are currently displayed at the Earth Science museum.
The previous Diplodocus sculpture was used by students as an icon to describe routes and paths in the College of Science. And as soon as it was removed, SQU media department tweeted about the dinosaur, stressing its importance.
Students have shown different reactions on social media after the dinosaur was demolished by workers at #The_Science_Dinosaur (in Arabic) was the most trending hashtag on Oman Twitter on Thursday.
@thelight1992 said “Please bring us a replacement soon, the college isn’t nice without it,” while @rofanoman said, “It resembled one our best SQU memories.”
“Nothing can replace you (the old dinosaur) and you will
always be in our hearts,” @Malikaalki1 tweeted.
It’s worth mentioning that in November 2015, Oman News Agency (ONA) reported that a remarkable assemblage of dinosaur fossils was found in Oman.
A team of French, Omani and Dutch researchers presented their discoveries in the open-access scientific journal PLOS ONE.
The bones represent the first evidence of hadrosaurian dinosaurs from Arabia. The finding of these so-called ‘duck-billed dinosaurs’ in the region was surprising, said officials.