How does the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex get to Copenhagen unharmed? The 300 bones of T. rex Tristan Otto are an unusual removal item. In Europe there are only two original predators of this species. "The most important tool is a well-functioning team," says locksmith Tomas Kleinert. When he drives four meters up to the dinosaur skull with the lifting platform, it becomes very quiet in the exhibition hall. Tension is in the air.
A T. rex skull on a pulley block
A dozen journalists are eagerly waiting for the museum team to remove the dinosaur skull. Around the replica of the skull stands a metal frame, above the skull hangs a pulley with several steel chains. In addition to the metal frame, the skull still hangs from a wire rope on the ceiling. Two men above and two men below monitor every centimeter that Tristan Otto moves. When the skull is hanging on the pulley block, Kleinert gives the starting signal: "Now is the moment. We cut the steel cable."
The skull swings free from the frame. The entire trunk of Tristan Otto vibrates with it. The exhibition team observes every tremor of the skeleton. Peter Kjaergaard, director of the Statens Naturhistoriske Museum in Copenhagen, follows the scenario with interest. His team unpacks it again in a few weeks. Tristan Otto's head swivels. It's as if he's saying goodbye to everyone: "See you again". Then the black skull sinks inch by inch into the wooden box. Only the rattling of the metal chains and the clicking of the cameras can be heard.
Custom-made for audience favourite Tristan Otto
Four men hold his skull to the last centimeter. One man grips Tristan Otto's six-inch teeth. Tristan Otto gets foam between his teeth. When the head is in the foam-covered box, everyone is relieved. "Perfect," sums up locksmith Kleinert, and applause is heard. "Dismantling a valuable object like Tristan Otto is still a challenge after 40 years of work," says Kleinert and adds: "I was definitely excited today. Behind the dismantling is a detailed planned logistics: After the skull follow the ribs, the vertebrae, the limbs and at the end the particularly heavy pelvic bone. The dismantling takes two weeks, during which everything is individually packed and meticulously documented
"When the dino shook, I shook too," says exhibition curator Linda Gallé. She and exhibition director Uwe Moldrzyk are delighted that everything went so smoothly. "For a brief moment the tail wagged, but everything still worked out perfectly," says Moldrzyk. In 15 minutes Tristan Otto's skull copy was packed.
All bones, more than half of which are real, need more than 30 boxes for their journey to Copenhagen. Every bone box and foam covering fits perfectly. And there is another custom-made job to be done: locksmith Kleinert is building a new frame for Tristan Otto. Because the hall in Copenhagen is 70 centimeters lower. And he reveals: "Maybe the skeleton will look a bit different from the drama."
In the end, a headless skeleton remains - as well as a good view: Tristan Otto returns in 2021. From April 2, however, he is initially the focus of the "King of Dinosaurs" exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Copenhagen.
See the Video here.