A life size Tyrannosaurus rex is one of four animatronic dinosaurs that moved into the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery one night last month, where they will live for the summer.
The large creatures, sculpted by Launceston’s Gondwana Studios, will feature alongside 20 dinosaur skeletons in the museum’s latest exhibition Dinosaur rEvolution – Secrets of Survival, opening December 7.
The exhibition focuses on recent theories of dinosaur evolution and how dinosaurs evolved into birds.
It challenges traditional representations of dinosaurs as being green, scaly and lizard-like, and presents an alternative image of dinosaurs as being coloured, feathered and furred.
TMAG deputy engagement director Andy Baird said a majority of people understood that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago after a large asteroid hit the Earth.
“We are re-framing the understanding of how dinosaurs survived. They didn’t all go extinct and we now have birds,” he said.
“It is those evolutionary threads that we are now presenting. Very recently, within the the last 12 years, there have been discoveries in China of dinosaur fossils which have protofeathers, spines and quills.
“We are understanding that dinosaurs might of looked more similar to birds and had the wonderful array of colours that we see in birds of today.”
The first feathered dinosaur was found in China in 1996 when paleontologists unearthed a 1.5-metre-long Sinosauropteryx which showed evidence of fluff, like that of a baby chicken.
Since then more than 50 species of dinosaurs have been found in an area dubbed the epicenter of paleontology that is re-writing dinosaur text books.
These species show evidence of fluff, have pygostyle tailbones where feathers would have attached, or quill knobs which fix feathers to the wings of birds.
The Yutyrannus huali or "beautiful feathered tyrant" was the first large feathered dinosaur to be found in 2012 with its skeleton dating back 125 million years.
Public talks will be held throughout December, including a Discovery Day on December 9.