- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The new kid in the College of Charleston’s School of Sciences and Mathematics this semester has a talon as large as your hand.

A cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex now looms over visitors entering the lobby of the school building on Calhoun Street, on loan for a year from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. In one of those can’t-make-this-stuff-up coincidences, the ferocious, 66 million-year-old dinosaur whose discovered bones led to the cast was a young adult.

In other words, “Bucky” was just another college teen. Of course, this one was 13 feet tall and 41 feet long.

“Honestly, any dinosaur stuck inside a building like that is impressive,” said Phil Manning, the newly hired paleontology professor at the college who arranged for the loan with his wife, Victoria Edgerton. But a T. rex makes an impression all its own.

The huge predator is the nightmare of dinosaurs, the voracious mauler that makes mincemeat of nearly everything and everyone in the classic movie “Jurassic Park.” The bones of the cast alone weigh a ton.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of ‘wow’ing going on,” said Mace Brown, who donated his collection of 1,500 assorted fossils, such as mastodon bones and a saber-toothed cat, to the building’s Natural History Museum that now bears Brown’s name.

Manning takes over as director of the museum when the building reopens Jan. 4. He heard there had been talk about finding a T. rex for the lobby a few years ago, but “for one reason or another that T. rex was a little too elusive,” he said. So he went and corralled another one. It was installed just before Christmas.

“Hopefully it will inspire youngsters to learn more about life on earth,” he said. The museum, on the second floor of the building at 202 Calhoun St., will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for Wednesdays. It is free. Of course, you have to get past T. rex to get up the stairs.

How tough is that? Ask 9-year-old Matthew Laskavy of West Ashley who got his first glimpse last week.

“It’s BIG,” he said. “It didn’t look so big when I saw the pictures.”

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Information from: The Post and Courier, https://www.postandcourier.com

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