Dinosaur takes up residence on Southsea Common

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A scary stranger is now strolling across Southsea Common - in the form of a 53ft high dinosaur.

The sculpture was officially unveiled yesterday and hundreds of people of all ages mingled beneath the huge structure.

The dinosaur, which is meant to be a life-size ultrasaurus, will be on the Common until October 10 and its creators hope it will be a thought-provoking landmark.

The sculpture has a steel skeleton and hard polyester shell and took three months to make in a Serbian car factory.

It has been transported in six pieces 2,000 miles by ship and lorry from Serbia to Southsea.

The dinosaur is the work of sculptors Ivan and Heather Morison, who have been working with Gunwharf's Aspex Gallery.

Mr Morison said: 'I am happy with how it's working.

'It makes people stop and think. We hope it will make people look at Portsmouth.

'It's sort of out place. It's the stranger in town.'

Joanne Bushell, director at Aspex, said: 'It's not naturalistic. It's like a great big toy.'

The dinosaur that the sculpture represents did not even exist. It was once thought to be the largest dinosaur until scientists realised the bones discovered were from two different species.

Its name is Luna Park, a once popular name for amusement parks across the world where building huge models used to be all the rage.

The reaction of the public yesterday was one of amazement, with many families stopping to take photographs.

'I think it's surreal,' said Janet Conway, 69, from London. 'We are sitting here under the dinosaur and there's a brass band playing at the same time!'

Katie Schofield, seven, from Southsea, said: 'It's ginormous. I think it would be cool if you could make it into a slide.'

Liz Bourne, 40, from Southsea, said: 'There's something about public art that acts as a focal point. It lifts people's spirits.'

Kay Collins, 22, from Gosport, said: 'It's a little bit random. It makes me think I am in Jurassic Park.'

After leaving Southsea, the sculpture will be travelling around the country, visiting Colchester and Cardiff.

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