The India Seashell Museum in Mamallapuram has added a Dinosaur Museum, which features, among other reptiles, an Irritator. It’s a genus of spinosaurid dinosaur that lived in Brazil years ago. The Dinosaur Museum, which opened in July 2021, has 14 mechanical models on display. Fitted with sensors, these models react - moving their tails, raising their necks and even roaring -every time someone goes past them.
Mohamed Riswan, the proprietor of India Seashell Museum, said that they added Dinosaur Museum for children so that they don’t get bored while their parents go around the seashell museum. The park is only the latest addition to the arena that already houses a pearl museum, which was set up in 2018. Not just that, it also accommodates a mineral museum, set up in 2020. However, that section could also be opened to the public only this year due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, This Hindu reported.
The Dinosaur Museum also features a short-handed T Rex a Velociraptor. Interestingly, the name Irritator, which is the main attraction at the museum, is a reflection of the paleontologists’ feelings. It’s said that they had found the skull of the Irritator heavily damaged and altered by the collectors. Paleontologists estimated Irritator to be somewhere between 6 and 8 metres in length. The giant creature weighed around 1 tonne. And yet, the Irritators were the smallest spinosaurids known. Irritator is only known from its skull.
Raja Mohamed, the father of Riswan, is the man behind the collection. Mohamed, a fish merchant from Rameswaram, set up the museum in 2012. Riswan said that his father has been collecting minerals, seashells and pearls for the last 38 years. He further said that Raja decided to have a museum dedicated to minerals only after he visited Singapore. “When my father saw the Merlion, he wanted to recreate it with seashells,” Riswan told the Hindu.
Speaking of his father’s love for pearls and shells, Riswan said that Raja started working as a fish merchant when he was just 19. “He would walk across the seashore, collect shells and sell them in markets. Once he started earning money as a fish merchant through exports, he used that money to invest in his hobby of collecting shells,” Riswan said.