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Half-human, half-dinosaur Patricia Renick contemplates her half-dinosaur, half-helicopter creation.


Field review by the editors.

Cincinnati, Ohio

"This is a gentle dinosaur, a kind dinosaur," said Melissa Norris, director of communications for Langsam Library at the University of Cincinnati. She was referring to Triceracopter, a life-size half-dinosaur, half-helicopter on the library's fourth floor. The 30-foot-long technobeast looks ready to rampage, but Melissa insisted that Triceratops was a harmless vegetarian.

Triceracopter was built using a real Vietnam War helicopter.

Triceracopter? We're not so sure.

Triceracopter was the creation of Patricia Renick, a University of Cincinnati sculptor/professor. She built it in the mid-1970s out of a battle-scarred Vietnam War helicopter, ostensibly as a Bicentennial project. Its official name is "The Hope for the Obsolescence of War" and it was only exhibited once, in 1978. After that, said Melissa, Triceracopter was out of public view for over 30 years in the warehouse where it had been built. When Renick died in 2007, her long-time partner "decided it was time to downsize" by donating the dinosaur to Renick's old university. The walls of the warehouse were still covered with photographs documenting Triceracopter's construction; Melissa incorporated them into the exhibit, which was unveiled in December 2010.


This was not the first behemoth built by Renick; she had earlier created Stegowagenvolkssaurus to call attention to the similarities between dinosaurs and automobiles. Stegowagenvolkssaurus looks cuddly compared to Triceracopter, a sweet Autobot to this hulking green Decepticon. Renick said in a 2003 interview that she purposely sculpted Triceracopter's armored face to resemble the helmet of a Samurai warrior. "They were very much into psychological warfare," she said of the Samurai. "If they couldn't kill you, they would scare the hell out of you."

In addition to Triceracopter, Renick also created "She Became What She Beheld," a portrait of herself sitting on a chair, dressed in her dinosaur-sculpting overalls, holding a small concept model -- with her head replaced by the head of her Triceratops! Did Renick view herself as an artistic dinosaur? If so, she was wrong; her bio-mechanical creations were ahead of their time, and still startle visitors and library patrons.

Renick had hoped that Triceracopter and Stegowagenvolkssaurus would eventually be exhibited at a university "or be buried deep in a cave where they might later be discovered." While we applaud that idea conceptually, we're also glad that the two dinos have emerged in our lifetimes and are back on public display. They're only 20 minutes from each other, on either side of the Kentucky/Ohio state line, easy to visit in one trip.

Also see: Stegowagenvolkssaurus


Langsam Library

2911 Woodside Drive, Cincinnati, OH
On the fourth floor of Langsam Library at the University of Cincinnati. Park in the garage on the east side of Woodside Drive (its entrance is just past the pedestrian overpass), then follow signs for the library elevator. Go to the fourth floor.
Library hours vary with school calendar. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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