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Eyes popping in astonishment, his mouth hanging mutely open, seven-year-old Joel approaches the four-metre-high monster and stands nose-to-nose with one of the deadliest killing machines the world has ever known.
The full-scale Tyrannosaurus rex is just one of the prehistoric highlights on display at Portugal's self-proclaimed "dinosaur capital", a new theme park in one of the most fossil-rich regions in Europe.
Reproductions - Species - Spread - Hectares - Acres
"We have 120 large-scale reproductions of 70 different species, spread over 10 hectares (24.7 acres)," Simao Mateus, Dino Park's scientific director told AFP.
Although only recently opened, the park sits in a part of Portugal long famous among palaeontologists for its extraordinary array of fossilised remains.
Town - Lourinha - Hour - North - Lisbon
The nearby town of Lourinha, an hour's drive north of Lisbon, has been dinosaur-mad ever since the remains of a dozen of the creatures were discovered in the late 19th century.
It already has a dinosaur museum and dinosaur statues in metal or resin can be seen on its roundabouts, while pavements are decorated with paintings of dinosaur footprints.
Lourinha - Dinosaurs - Facility - Mateus
"Lourinha is quite particular about its dinosaurs, so we should all enjoy" the new facility, Mateus said.
Visitors to the park are greeted by the rearing neck of a giant model Supersaurus—one of the largest dinosaur genera—announcing a collection as impressive as anything else to be found in Europe.
Germany - Resin - Statues - Route - Budding
Imported from Germany, the resin statues are dotted throughout a forest route guiding budding palaeontologists through the eons when dinosaurs stalked the...
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