Coelophysis bauri Fossil cast of Late Triassic specimen Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Elser Bruce Museum Collection 2009.12 Photo by Paul Mutino

Reconstruction of an extinct Hypsognathus created by Sean Murtha/Bruce Museum

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of the Dinosaurs

November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017

Last Days of Pangea highlights local discoveries that place the Connecticut Valley at the epicenter of one of the most dramatic eras of prehistory. Two hundred million years ago, early dinosaurs lived alongside bizarre reptiles on the supercontinent Pangea. 

These denizens of "Triassic Park” included armored crocodile relatives, long-necked reptiles that swam like frogs, and a unique lizard-like animal that glided on a membrane supported by outstretched ribs.  They wandered the region, leaving footprints along the muddy lake shores and skeletons in the sandy floodplains. Unbeknownst to these creatures, the age of Pangea would soon come to a violent end. 

As the Triassic Period gave way to the Jurassic Period, the Earth itself split open along a seam that ran through the center of Connecticut, unleashing a massive flood of lava that triggered extinctions throughout the globe. In the aftermath, dinosaurs rose from humble beginnings to launch a 135-million-year reign. 

This exhibition explores the geological record of the sundering of Pangea and showcases fossils ranging from tiny oddballs to ferocious predators.

Visitors will encounter:

  • a life size cast of Postosuchus, a 12-foot long bipedal relative of modern crocodiles that kept early dinosaurs off the top of the food chain 
  • Coelophysis, a primitive dinosaur once believed to have eaten its own young
  • fleshed out life reconstructions created for the exhibition of eight species including the gliding Icarosaurus and armored Stegomus  
  • historic footprints collected from throughout the Connecticut Valley in the 1800s including those of our Connecticut state fossil: the dinosaur track Eubrontes.