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WORLD'S LARGEST DINOSAUR

We Aussies gaze in awe at Ploddy, a 17ft. long replica of a dinosaur, which has guarded the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford, 50 miles north of Sydney, for nearly 40 years. But the World's Largest Dinosaur, in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, could eat poor Ploddy for breakfast and would still be hungry.

The Canadian monster is 82ft. tall - the height of an eight-story building. His gaping mouth serves as a viewing area big enough to hold eight people, who get there by climbing 106 stairs inside the huge statue - four times the size of a prehistoric Tyrannosaurus Rex. From their vantage point, the weary visitors can view the town and river.

Drumheller Valley is famous for its prehistoric heritage, and many dinosaur fossils have been found there. Drumheller (population 30,000) is in the "Badlands" in central Alberta and is home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, one of the largest palaeontological museums in the world.

October 13 will be the third anniversary of the grand opening of this outstanding tourist attraction.

Apart from its gigantic dinosaur, Drumheller has another claim to fame. More films and TV documentaries seem to have been made there than almost anywhere else, apart from Hollywood and Bollywood.

"I like filming in Drumheller," said one film director. "Within a very short distance I can be filming in a desert environment, prairie farmland, or what appears to be the foothills of the Rocky Mountains."

Returning to our Australian Reptile Park, its website says "The Diplodicus on which Ploddy is modelled was one of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived, despite having a brain smaller than a human's.

"It was so heavy that it spent much of its life during the Jurassic period partially submerged in water to assist with supporting its huge bulk. It was a placid vegetarian that probably lived in large herds, each individual consuming several tonnes of food each day.

"Ploddy was Australia's first giant roadside icon... She sits atop a hill adjacent to the Sydney-Newcastle freeway [and is] seen every year by over 40 million passing vehicles. So next time you see this proud mascot, give her a wave and come on into the Australian Reptile Park, where you will enjoy the best family fun day out."

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Copyright 2003

Eric Shackle

Story first posted October 2003

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