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Utah's oldest residents have had quite a year - 1988 is the year of the dinosaur. After being honored by the Utah Legislature and spotlighted at the Utah Museum of Natural History, there was even a Dance of the Dinosaur in June to raise money for the Dinamation exhibit at the museum.

Mounting an exhibit the size and scope of Dinamation requires resources beyond the usual reach of a museum. Without the support of the community, this effort could not have succeeded.But partial funding and in-kind support has been provided the museum by the R.H. Burton Foundation; Sinclair Oil Company; KALL radio; the Utah Travel Council; KSL-TV; Wendy's; the S.J. and Jesse E. Quinney Foundation; the Ray, Quinney and Nebeker Foundation; Citicorp/Citibank; and US WEST Communications. Also assisting the "Year of the Dinosaur" are Borders, Perrin and Norrander; Utah Power & Light Company; and the Associated Board of the Utah Museum of Natural History.

The board members responsible for the "Dinodance" fund-raising event were Paula Wagstaff, Kitty Liddle, Susan Daynes, Nanette Elliott, Faye Johnson, Linda Peterson and Faye Keller. Donating items for an auction were Patty Owens of Gentler Times; Colorado River & Trail Expeditions; John Mortensen and Carl Ulrich.

The nine dinosaurs that comprise the Dinamation exhibit are a ferocious bunch that roar, shake their heads and tails and even take steps. The mechanical frames are covered with a silicon rubber skin that is realistically colored and textured. The museum's Frank DeCourten said, "Body colors and sounds are based somewhat on speculation because no soft body parts of dinosaurs showing color have ever been found."

Utah's own allosaurus can be seen in a 24-foot-long model that stands almost 13 feet tall. Along with a stegosaurus will be a pteranodon (with a wingspan of 26 feet), a triceratops, an apatosaurus and an ankylosaurus, among others. The museum hopes to purchase one model, the allosaurus, at the close of the exhibit.

The Dinamation exhibit can be seen at the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah through Dec. 31. During the summer, the exhibit will stay open until 9 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are available at the Jon M. Huntsman Center at the U. or through Smith'sTix outlets. Prices are $3.50 for adults and $1.50 for children with an additional 75 cents per ticket charged at Smith'sTix.