The Jurassic Coast Gallery
Dorset County Museum opened its new Jurassic Coast Gallery in 2006 thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The existing Geology gallery was completely transformed into a state-of-the-art, 185 million year 'walk through time'.
Designed as a focal point for all visitors to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the Gallery charts the full 95 miles of coastline from Exmouth in Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset.
Visitors to the Gallery can learn how the coast was formed and why it is so important. This fascinating geological story is delivered through touch, sound, text, and interactive displays, and at levels to suit all ages and all abilities.
Displays show visitors what past environments were like - for example, in the Cretaceous Period the Jurassic Coast was flooded by a vast tropical sea. Visitors can also find an enormous Pliosaur flipper, and discover the story of Ammonites - an important group of fossils used to tell how old rocks are. Another display shows us an Ichthyosaur fossil - ichthyosaurs were fierce predators in Jurassic seas with powerful tails and formidable teeth. Our two flying Pterosaurs are also sure to be the centre of much attention!
The Weymouth Bay Pliosaur - The World's Biggest Bite
The fossilised skull of a Pliosaur (Pliosaurus kevani), the largest marine reptile that ever lived, has been discovered on the Dorset coast and is now on permanent display in the Jurassic Coast gallery.
The skull is 2.4 metres long and could belong to a creature measuring up to 16 metres in length from tip to tail and weighing up to 12 tonnes. It is believed to be 155m years old. A type of plesiosaur, the pliosaur had a short neck and huge, crocodile-like heads that contained immensely powerful jaws with a set of huge, razor-sharp teeth.