The Dino-Zoo park in Charbonnières-les-Sapins near Besançon (Doubs) has just invested in new full-scale replicas of dinosaurs. A treat for visitors, but also for scientists who bring these animals from the past back to life.
Do your kids love dinosaurs? Have you seen and re-watched Steven Spielberg’s film Jurassic Park dozens of times? Open your eyes wide! Seismosaurus is 50 meters long, 8 meters high. They weigh almost 8 tons. “It’s the largest dinosaur sculpture ever made in France, it’s one of the largest animals that has ever walked the earth” welcomes Geoffroy Vauthier, Head of Dino-Zoo Park.
To create its dinosaurs, the Parc du Doubs has worked for seven years with Frédéric Pittet, a teacher and paleontologist at the College of Lausanne in Switzerland. “Seismosaurus is a long-necked dinosaur, a sauropod, it is very familiar with diplodocus. As the name suggests, Seismosaurus causes earthquakes as it moves. “ explains the scientific advisor for the Dino-Zoo park.
About this Seismosaurus is little known. He lived 150 million years ago. In 1979, bones, vertebrae and ribs were discovered in New Mexico. Incomplete bones. “It’s one of the largest dinosaurs,” explains Frédéric Pittet. “Seismosaurus is actually a very long diplodocus, these are animals that lived in the Upper Jurassic, in France and Switzerland. We found traces of these animals in Ain” remembers the paleontologist.
You can make people happy by being scientifically accurate.
Frédéric Pittet, teacher and researcher in paleontology
Seeing it today reconstructed in life size is a source of great pride for this scientist. “To me, apotheosis is the reconstitution that brings it to life and demystifies it. For it is animals that really existed” the researcher remembers.
This giant dinosaur was made by Dinosaur International in Hamburg, Germany. Benjamin Englich, paleo-computer scientist, modeled the animal. The sculpture is made of resin with a 3D printer. “Production took three months, Seismosaurus was born in 11 pieces” says Geoffroy Vauthier. Doubs Park, one park in Portugal, another in Romania, has incurred research and development costs. Everyone got their Seismosaurus delivered.
Installing this giant dinosaur is quite a challenge!
The installation of Séismosaurus at the heights of the park required the use of ten technicians, five semi-trailers and two cranes. A base has been built with the dinosaur’s feet. So one day without wind, a crane was needed to lift the animal to finally put it in place.
In Doubs, the Dino-Zoo has invested 200,000 euros to build this Seismosaurus. “It’s a piece we could never afford” says Geoffroy Vauthier, manager of Dino-Zoo Park. For its 30th anniversary, the park has just invested in a dozen new dinosaurs thanks to grants from the tourism recovery plan, which suffered from the covid-19 health crisis for two years. For the Doubs Park, 800,000 euros were injected by the Burgundy-Franche-Comté region and the Jura Mountains.
“We are betting on Seismosaurus and these investments, to get the park talking about its 30th anniversary and to make itself known at the national level” adds the leader. Dino-Zoo had attracted up to 122,000 visitors a year in 2018. The health crisis reduced that number to 98,000 visits in 2021.
To discover the giant Séismosaurus and the new replicas of dinosaurs, head to the Dino-Zoo Park in Doubs, 20 minutes from Besançon, 1 hour from Vesoul, Belfort, Montbéliard and Neuchâtel, 1.30 from Lons-le-Saunier, Beaune, Dijon , Mulhouse and Lausanne in Switzerland.
A 2.5 km route gives young and old the opportunity to go back in history and travel to the time of the dinosaurs. A course with a fun and scientific calling.