It’s unclear what the rationale was, but The Economist has recently reported that the Saudi Arabian Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) has come in and closed the Dinosaur World exhibit / playground. I’ve looked around a bit to see if there is any further information explaining this action (is it a reaction to the very idea that once dinosaurs roamed the earth?, perhaps some incidents of improper behavior had been reported?). In the absence of information, we can only guess.
I was alerted to this news via a blog that I follow by the evolutionary biologist, Jerry Coyne. Coyne’s interest comes from his concern about the suppression of science that is sometimes found amongst religious organizations. Because this action was carried out by the CPVPV, it is reasonable to assume that the exhibit was closed because it violated a tenet of the islamic faith. The CPVPV is the Saudi religious police who enforce Sharia Law by monitoring the population to ensure that people adhere to dress codes, separation of men and women, etc.
However, it’s difficult to look at pictures of this exhibit and see what could be wrong. Although he does not say it explicitly, I have a feeling that Coyne is worried that Saudi Arabia is going the way of Turkey in suppressing science that contradicts religious interpretations of creation. This is an issue in many Christian-dominated cultures, but many people do not realize that fundamentalists of Islam are very similar in their views as fundamentalist Christians. Read more about recent actions prohibiting teaching of evolution in Turkey here.