China's dinosaurs trek to UK: UK museum to display dinosaurs discovered in China

Massive dinosaur skeletons and never-before-seen fossils from China are part of an exhibition coming to Nottingham's Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall.

The Dinosaurs of China display includes a 13-meter-tall Mamenchisaurus- the tallest mounted dinosaur skeleton ever seen in the United Kingdom.

And dino-lovers for the first time outside Asia can get up close to a Gigantoraptor, the largest bird-like dinosaur ever found, the fossil of which was discovered 10 years ago.

The skeletons and fossils were shipped on an 8,000 km journey over land and sea from China that took 50 days.

The Gigantoraptor was found by Tan Lin, a Chinese paleontologist from Long Hao Geological Institute of Paleontology in Inner Mongolia.

"This is the first time ever in the world for the Gigantoraptor to be exhibited in a natural history museum," Tan said. "I hope it will give the people in the UK a better understanding of Inner Mongolia dinosaurs and Chinese dinosaurs and that it contributes to the cultural communication and research cooperation between Nottingham, Inner Mongolia, and other regions in China."

Many of the dinosaurs on display were uncovered during the last 20 years.

Visitors will be taken on an evolutionary journey through the development of dinosaurs.

Adam Smith, the exhibition curator, said: "The dinosaurs have changed our understanding of dinosaur evolution, and particularly our understanding of the evolution of birds from dinosaurs. The smoking gun discovery is the fossil feathers, so we've got in this exhibition fossils of dinosaurs, genuine fossils that show all of the bones, but, unusually, they also show the feathers as well, preserved around the bones, so we know 100 percent that these dinosaurs had feathers."

There are 26 exhibits in the show. Smith said a highlight was the Microrapter, a genuine fossil of a flying dinosaur.

"It's particularly special because it's got four wings," Smith said. "It's got wings on its arms but also wings on its legs, so it's a really an unusual flying dinosaur."

Wang Qi, professor at the University of Nottingham, was key in bringing the Dinosaurs of China exhibition to the UK.

Wang said paleontologists in China have filled in gaps in the understanding of the evolution of dinosaurs and noted that these are exciting and important times for people in the field.