Asheboro, NC - They'rrrrrrrrrrre....baaaaaaaaaaack!
Dinosaurs, those so-called "terrible lizards" that thrilled North Carolina Zoo visitors both young and old during an eight-month stay in 2012, have returned for a second triumphant appearance beginning Friday, March 29.
These snarling, roaring replicas of a lost era that helped set Zoo attendance records last year will return from a winter hibernation to thrill young and old again in a specially created winding pathway near the African Pavilion. Nearly 240,000 people, representing more than 35 percent of zoo visitors, toured the "Dinosaurs" exhibit between April and November 2012.

Now a new cast of creatures has been chosen for the 2013 Dinosaur experience that promise to be bigger, bolder and better. Among the featured species will be Giganotosaurus, which will take the place of the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the new collection.

"Giga" is actually believed to have been larger than the T-Rex, with a massive skull more than six feet long. Remains of this "Giant Southern Lizard" helped show scientists that North Africa and South America were joined together much later than previously believed. Found in Argentina, "Giga" lived in the early and late Cretaceous Period 90-100 million years ago (m.y.a.).
Other new species for 2013 will include: Dilophosaurus, the "Double or Two-Crested Lizard. "Dilo" gained fame when it appeared as a much smaller dinosaur in the original Jurassic Park movie. Evidence does not show that it spit poison or had a frill around it's head as in the movie. But from the early Jurassic (180-200 m.y.a.), "Dilo" was the top predator of its time and is one of the few dinosaurs to have been found in what is now modern Arizona.

Acrocanthosaurus: A very large early Cretaceous carnivorous dinosaur (105-115 m.y.a.) whose name means "high spined lizard" with the type species found in Oklahoma.

Amargasaurus: A relatively "new" early cretaceous (127 - 132 m.y.a.) sauropod dinosaur discovered in Argentina in 1991. The "La Amarga Lizard" featured elongated pairs of spines running from the base of the head down to the base of the neck.

Citipati: A late Cretaceous (75 m.y.a.) Oviraptorid dinosaur whose name is from the Sanskrit words meaning "Funeral Pyre Lord" & found in what is now the central plains of Asia. This Emu sized creature had a distinct toothless head crest and proto-feathers.

Edmontonia: One of the last known dinosaurs alive, this heavy tank like creature was similar to Ankylosaurus, but was from a separate family called the Nodosaurs.

Parasaurolophus: With the name of "Near Saurolophus" this massive duck-billed dinosaur had a distinct elongated crest that has been shown function as a resonating chamber, possibly sending low, deep, sub-sonic sounds to herd members miles and miles away.

Triceratops: Easily one of the most well known and recognizable dinosaurs. "Three Horned Face" was a huge frilled dinosaur with three distinct horns on it's face.

And five other species: Coclohysis, Deltadromeus, Parasaurolophus, Quetzalcoatlus and Styracosaurus.
Created by Billings Productions, a Texas company specializing in state-of-the-art dinosaur exhibits for zoos, theme parks and other tourist attractions, each Dinosaur is built on a steel frame with hydraulic movements that include grasping hands, menacing claws and gnashing teeth. Then they're meticulously covered with textured, intricately painted rubber skin featuring bold colors and theatrical touches that make them seem all too real.

So whether you're a youngster with a passion for paleontology or an oldster with just a passing fancy for prehistoric critters, "Dinosaurs 2013" is a can't-miss Zoo attraction.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.