SOUTHAMPTON'S main shopping centre will celebrate a national first today by unveiling the skeleton of a huge dinosaur.

Big Sara, an allosaurus ten metres long and more than three metres high, will be on display at Westquay for the next two years and is set to prove a monster hit.

It is the first time a large authentic dinosaur fossil has gone on show at a UK shopping complex.

Big Sara is one of the most complete allosaurus skeletons ever found. About 70 per cent of the bones are original, with the missing ones being reproduced in resin. 

Daily Echo: The skeleton of a dinosaur called Big Sara will go on show at Westquay shopping centre in Southampton today.The skeleton of a dinosaur called Big Sara will go on show at Westquay shopping centre in Southampton today.

Its arrival coincides with the opening of Jurassic World: Dominion, at Westquay’s Cinema de Lux at the end of this week.

The remains of the fearsome-looking creature were discovered in 2015 on a hillside in the Morrison Formation in Wyoming, the most fertile source of dinosaur fossils in North America, and took more than two years to remove.

READ MORE: Big Sara dinosaur fossil coming to Westquay - but what is an allosaurus?

Big Sara is thought to have roamed the earth around 150 million years ago.

The formidable carnivore ripped her prey apart with her killer claws. Some palaeontologists say the allosaurus was a social animal and hunted in packs, but others suspect the creatures may have fought each other.

Daily Echo: Big Sara's ferocious claws.Big Sara's ferocious claws.

Big Sara has been loaned to Westquay by the Bournemouth-based Richmond Group, which bought the skeleton at auction.

Its founder and CEO, James Benamor, said: “When we bought Big Sara our intention was to share it with as many people as possible. Whilst museums are fine, many children visit them maybe once a year if they are lucky.

“When we looked at where we could put Sara so that as many people as possible could see her as often as possible, Westquay was our first choice.

"As the largest and most popular shopping centre closest to the Jurassic Coast, it was the right place for the apex predator of the Jurassic period.”

Westquay's general manager, Laura Read, added: "When we were offered Big Sara we jumped at the chance.

"We are all about providing visitors with a unique entertainment experience whether shopping, dining or taking in a movie, so having a full-scale dinosaur fossil on display fits totally into our strategy."

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