Leeds nostalgia: Times Past takes a walk with dinosaurs

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It’s not the usual fare for Times Past but this week we go back in time not just a few decades or even a few centuries but a few hundred million years, to the time when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Leeds was once host to one of the most intriguing fossil finds ever made - the ‘angel fossil’, which was put on display at Leeds Parish Church in the late 1990s (more on that later).

The National History Museum exhibition will feature some of the most frighteningly life-like moving dinosaurs ever created.

From the infamous flesh-eating T-rex to the plant-munching Iguanodon, there will be all kinds of animatronics to educate and perhaps even frighten one or two people.

The exhibition is aimed at school groups and families with children aged seven and older, with some activities aimed at children aged four to six.

A spokesman for the exhibition said: “Visitors will find themselves stepping back in time, and walking straight into the feeding frenzy of hungry dinosaurs from slow-moving plant-eaters to fierce, agile flesh eaters.

“This spectacular exhibition brings together intriguing fossil evidence, fun hands-on exhibits, scientific insights and the 10 most lifelike and spectacular animatronics you have ever seen.

“It will reveal everything scientists now know about what and how dinosaurs ate.

James Vincent, managing director of New Dock Hall, said: “We are delighted to have secured this popular exhibition which is in great demand. June – September is a peak period and covers all of the long school summer holidays.

“We look forward to welcoming children and grown ups of all ages, to what promises to be a great day out.”

The lifelike spectacular animatronics will show visitors what paleontologists know about what dinosaurs had for dinner. Using the same techniques that scientists use, become a dino detective and study dinosaur jaws, claws, guts and even a huge mound of poo piled high behind the plant-eating Euoplocephalus animatronic, to discover what dinosaurs ate.

Visitors can investigate the poo to find traces of what this armoured dinosaur might have eaten. They can also touch real fossilised dinosaur poo.

However, they have to watch out for the deadly swinging tail of the Euopocephalus.

The exhibition will be open daily 10am–6pm from the June 3–September 7.

Advance purchase ticket prices: £5.95 per person, £22.00 for a family of four, £4.75 for groups and kids aged 3 or under go free. Book now on www.dinosaursinleeds.co.uk.

In September 1999, the Yorkshire Evening Post ran a story on the so-called ‘angel fossil’.

It was part of an exhibition at the time, with ceramic sculptures of angels created by four artists from East Street Arts.

Contrasting with the traditional image of the heavenly beings, (engraved climbing ladders and so on)

The fossil itself was found by David Cooke’s. It has a human-type ribcage and pelvis, then the arm develops into a winged structure. Look closely and you can see the mass imprint of feathers in the clay where the creature died.

The blurb states it was found in 1991 in Solnhofen, Germany and carbon dating suggests it is 112 million years old.

If you fancy a trek out beyond Leeds, then Yorkshire has a wealth of fossil collecting opportunities.

The Yorkshire coast is the second most popular area in the UK for fossil hunting. In fact, it is renowned for its Jurassic fossils - some of the most commercialised fossil areas are Whitby, Port Mulgrave, and Robin Hoods Bay.

Port Mulgrave is productive in a wide range of ammonite species along with reptiles remains and more and is one of the best locations for collecting in Yorkshire.

Saltwick Bay yields many ammonites, reptiles and shells, also famous for Jet which is similar to Amber. These ammonites are often found in nodules which are easy to split and found along the foreshore which makes easy collecting.

If you want somewhere a little more off the beaten track, then try Hayburn Wyke, which was missed out of an official fossil guide and is a superb location in Yorkshire for finding fossil plants.

Filey Brigg is a very famous foreshore platform that extends a long way out at low tide. Many walk along but many often to do realise that nearby superb plants and shells can be collected near the cliffs next to the Brigg.

Boggle Hole is to the southern end of Robin Hoods Bay and is a site of special scientific interest. Foreshore exposures of Siliceous Shales yield a range of trace fossils, and during scouring conditions, some superb ammonites can be found.

Yorkshire has all this because of its geology - its cliffs are constantly being worn away by the sea and the famous Yorkshire landscape with its valleys and hills makes for a perfect fossil hunting environment, as it exposes rocks to weathering forces of wind and rain.

Leeds, Sweet street, 28th March 1979'LIGHTING'Mr. Eddie Mullan, a lift engineer at the City of Leeds Public Works Department, Sweet Street, gives a last polish to one of the four old gas lamps that are to be sent to Germany.

Leeds nostalgia: Bits of old Leeds sent to Germany... in 1979