Museum goers can get up close and personal with the Cowichan Valley’s Giganotosaurus (Cole Schisler photo)

Meet Vancouver Island’s new Giganotosaurus

Jim Shockey says rare 37-foot-long fossil cast now belongs to Cowichan

Maple Bay’s Hand of Man Museum is now home to the Cowichan Valley’s only giganotosaurus.

Hand of Man’s, Jim Shockey picked up the rare scientific cast at a recent dinosaur auction in Vancouver. Shockey explained that the original giganotosaurus bones are kept in Argentina, where the creature lived approximately 98 million years ago. Only 25 full sized casts of the giganotosaurus were made for display purposes.

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“I’m trying to locate the other ones, but they’re in museums around the world,” Shockey said.

The giganotosaurus is 37 feet long, however it’s not as large as the other dinosaur that Shockey acquired at the auction. The other cast is a sauropod so large that Shockey has to seek a building variance to build a roof tall enough to contain it.

“When I won the bid at the auction I was scraching my head. I knew it was big, but I had no concept of how big it really was until I stood beside the largest meat eater this world has even seen.”

Currently, the giganotosaurus does not have a name. Shockey said it could possibly be named for the Cowichan Valley, as the giganotosaurus will remain in the Valley for the indefinite future.

Shockey has travelled throughout the world collecting items to display in his museum – a journey he first embarked on at the age of 10.

“When I was 10 years old I could have described everything that would be in this museum. If there was a place like this when I was growing up I would have lived in it, they never would have been able to get me out.”

Although he’s been just about everywhere, Shockey and his family have been living in Maple Bay for 34 years.

“I consider this place – Cowichan Valley and greater Vancouver Island – to be the best place on the planet to live,” he said.

Shockey said that Hand of Man – which operates on admission by donation – is his way of giving back to the Cowichan community.

“It’s ours, and it always will be. It’s not going any where – it’s here. And it’s for everyone to consider as their own. It’s for all of us to share, and hopefully will be a for a long time to come.”

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Hand of Man is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., 365 days of the year. Admission is by donation.

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