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"We don't know," Fraley says. "These are speculations."
Careful observers will note that Thomas' ribs are bent and misshapen, and that the ball of his right femur is broken away. Rather than fill it in, Chiappe and Fraley left it as is. If Chiappe is like a dino dad, then Fraley is dino mom, cherishing even their imperfections. To Fraley, the distortions that occurred over millennia are what give the bones their beauty and authenticity.
"See how straight the scapula is?" he asks, pointing, a soft look in his eyes. "That's because of the compression of the Earth."
In his 30 years of building museum exhibits, Fraley has done stegosaurs and allosaurs and the apatosaurus and alligatoresque rutiodons and cute little icarosaurus. And that's only the dinosaurs. He's also modeled mastodons, schools of dolphin swimming through cross-sections of fake ocean, and Cretaceous fish leaping out of water to catch dragonflies in tropical rain forests. As with the NHM's T. rexes, Fraley's mounts are precise and arresting, and all seem to have, well, a great deal of personality. Yes, the dodo he modeled at a Singapore museum is generally regarded as the most accurate dodo model in the world. But the real draw is the way he nailed the extinct creature's essential sadness: doomed, ineffable, with just a hint of humor.
His baby T. rex and juvenile don't have nicknames yet, but they will soon.
Someday Fraley would love to articulate a herd of sauropods. He imagines capturing the epic drama of scores of the giant herbivores migrating across vast tracts of land. "The idea is very soothing to me," he says. "But you'd need a huge space to do it."
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