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The Trachodon was most common of dinosaurs. Back of the bill it had 2,500 teeth which, like the bullets in a machine gun, replaced one another as enamel wore off.
Caption from LIFE. The Trachodon was most common of dinosaurs. Back of the bill it had 2,500 teeth which, like the bullets in a machine gun, replaced one another as enamel wore off.Hansel Mieth—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
The Trachodon was most common of dinosaurs. Back of the bill it had 2,500 teeth which, like the bullets in a machine gun, replaced one another as enamel wore off.
Tyrannosaurus was the largest of flesh-eaters, has a skull which weighs 1,000 lb. Though it had tremendous hind legs, its front legs were no larger than a man's arm.
The 15-ft. step of an Iguanodont dinosaur was found in the roof of a coal mine at Cedaredge, Colo. The coal was mined away and the stone footprints were left.
This new type of Iguanodont dinosaur had a duck-like bill with a few teeth. The tail, twice as long as the body, propelled the reptile through water.
This 7-ft. Placodus existed 200,000,000 years ago,, it lived in the ocean, had well-developed flipper feet and at nothing but mollusks.
The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur exhibit in New York, 1939.
The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur exhibit in New York, 1939.
The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur exhibit in New York, 1939.
The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur exhibit in New York, 1939.
This well-preserved Plateosaurus (oar lizard) was one of the earliest dinosaurs. It stood on its hind legs, had front legs which were terminated by powerful talons.
The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur exhibit in New York, 1939.
Largest land tortoise that ever existed was found in India. This animal lived a million years ago, weighed 2,500 lb. in life and measured 7 ft. from tail to the head.
Caption from LIFE. The Trachodon was most common of dinosaurs. Back of the bill it had 2,500 teeth which, like the bulle
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Hansel Mieth—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Go Back in Time To Visit the Original Jurassic World

Jun 12, 2015

The Jurassic Park franchise grossed more than $2 billion at the box office over the span of three movies and eight years, with the original film ranking in the top 20 American box-office performances of all time. On Friday, the franchise roars again with Jurassic World, a fourth installment that imagines how things might turn out if a dinosaur theme park attempted to attract visitors by creating a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur. (By all appearances, the answer is "not well.")

In 2015, we need genetic mutants and modern technology to amp up the drama. But in 1939, there was plenty of drama in the sheer possibility of seeing dinosaur fossils in a museum. That year, New York City’s American Museum of Natural History debuted the largest fossil exhibit in the world, consisting of 200 specimens covering a time period of 200 million years.

Much of the collection came thanks to the paleontologist Barnum Brown, who had been excavating fossils since the 1890s. Among Brown’s treasures were a 66-ft. brontosaurus discovered in Wyoming and a nodosaurus, “resembling a huge horned toad,” originally found in 10,000 pieces near Billings, Mont.

Decidedly absent from the momentous exhibition? Indominus rex, Jurassic World’s violent hybrid of four real-life dinosaur species. Let’s hope that one remains a figment of Hollywood’s imagination.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

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