Meet the Extremely Big Star!

by Luci Cipera and Shayda Spakowski

View of the exhibition being installed, with the Indricotherium model partially visible in the foreground.

Too big to even fit in the photo! Image: Russ Brooks © Canadian Museum of Nature

The life-sized model of an Indricotherium is without question the star of the Extreme Mammals exhibition which opened on June 3, 2011, at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

This herbivorous animal was about five metres tall and weighed as much as 18 tonnes. It lived in the forests of Central Asia between 34 and 23 million years ago. (Read more about Indricotherium on the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) web site).

The model is much taller than the doorways of our galleries and it travelled in pieces. See photos of its assembly at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The first photos show how the pieces of the model are assembled by the teams from the Canadian Museum of Nature and AMNH. You can see the immense height of the Indricotherium.

Three men transport the head and neck of the life-sized model of Indricotherium.

The head and neck of the life-sized model of Indricotherium. Image: Shayda Spakowski © Canadian Museum of Nature

Two men install the legs of a life-sized model of Indricotherium.

Installing the legs of the life-sized model of Indricotherium. Image: Shayda Spakowski © Canadian Museum of Nature

The partly installed, life-sized model of Indricotherium.

Not finished yet... Image: Shayda Spakowski © Canadian Museum of Nature

Four men installing the back end of the Indricotherium.

Installing back end of the Indricotherium. Image: Shayda Spakowski © Canadian Museum of Nature

Four men installing part of the belly of the Indricotherium model.

You can see how big the Indricotherium will be. Image: Shayda Spakowski © Canadian Museum of Nature

Four men installing the neck and head of the Indricotherium model.

Almost there! Image: Shayda Spakowski © Canadian Museum of Nature

A local model-maker, Ronald Seguin, did the finishing work. He used expanding foam during this work. He uses it to smooth places where the pieces join together, sculpting it to make it blend in.

Using a piece of fabric, Ron applies a thick, coloured coating to mimic the skin texture. Finally, he finishes with two more coats in different colours to match the model’s appearance.

A man using expanding foam to join the pieces of the Indricotherium model.

Ron Seguin uses expanding foam to smooth places where the pieces join together, sculpting it to make it blend in. Image: Russ Brooks © Canadian Museum of Nature

A man uses expanding foam to join the pieces of Indricotherium model.

After finishing the joints, Ron Seguin will use a piece of fabric and different paint colours to give a natural look to the "skin" of the animal. Image: Russ Brooks © Canadian Museum of Nature

Et voilà! The Indricotherium is ready to welcome visitors to the entrance of the exhibition.

View through the entrance of the exhibition.

Indricotherium is starting to look like itself again Image: Russ Brooks © Canadian Museum of Nature

The life-sized model of Indricotherium.

An Indricotherium welcomes visitors at the entrance of the Extreme Mammals exhibition. Image: Russ Brooks © Canadian Museum of Nature

Extreme Mammals is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA, in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, USA.

This entry was posted in Exhibitions, Extreme Mammals and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Meet the Extremely Big Star!

  1. Diane P. says:

    While visiting the exhibit and looking at the pictures, I have notice that their is no tail on the Indricotherium.
    where did the tail go?

    • Russ Brooks says:

      Hi Diane… I took some of the photos above including the one in which we can clearly see the tail. I will be visiting the exhibit this evening and I’ll take a look to see if the tail is in its proper place. Thanks for your comment.

    • Russ Brooks says:

      Diane,
      I have found out why there is no tail… The full Indricotherium is a bit too tall for the ceilings at the Museum of Nature. There is an additional piece that goes on top of the Indricotherium, but it had to be removed in order to make the exhibit fit into the gallery. The tail is part of that upper piece that needed to be left off. Our exhibitors did try to place the tail onto the lower part of the body, as you see in the photos above, but in the end it was decided that the tail did not look “right” without the top piece and so the decision was made to remove it. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Laurie (Trewhitt) Atkinson says:

    It’s been many years now, since working with Ron Seguin..way back in the 80’s, where he taught me how to cast dinosaur bones along with the shark we plastered in the basement off of Cornation Road. in Ottawa. He just kept getting better and better! So thrilled to see this magnificent installment at the Museum of Nature!

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