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Museum of Natural History cleans largest dinosaur

MANHTTAN — The Titanosaur replicated at the American Museum of Natural History hasn’t walked the earth in millions of years. But sometimes its cast needs a little scrub.

“People move around through the space [and] little dust gets picked up and tends to settle on surfaces,” said Dean Markosian, Director of Project Management at the American Museum of Natural History.

Once a year, the 122-foot-long dinosaur model gets a thorough cleaning. The public was invited to see the process on Tuesday for the first time.

The Titanosaur is the largest dinosaur exhibit in the entire museum. The process to clean it takes an entire day.

“I have to get in between all the bones and all the others nooks and crannies, all the way through the skeleton head-to-toe,” said the Trenton Duerksen, a museum exhibition maintenance manager.

Bones of the individual Titanosaur, whose scientific name is Patagotitan mayorum, were discovered Argentina in 2014. The 84 fossil piece cast was added to the American Museum of Natural History in January 2016.

Researchers estimate this Titanosaur weighed around 70 tons, about the size of 10 African elephants.

Where a fossil or exhibit is determines how often it gets polished. Most of the museum’s 5 million annual visitors see the iconic exhibit.