Dinosaurs Among Us – Birds!

Armed with new tools like CT scans to see the shape of lost brains, scientists now have found even more evidence from bones and modern birds that lumbering dinosaurs were the original birds, developing over 230 million years ago into small feathered versions with nests and eggs as well as monsters like titanosours, until 150 million years ago the first birds appeared, from which 18,000 species evolved today. Lots of models of primal specimens with progenitor spiny feathers, including a dodo, and scope for children to play.

When Archaeopteryx was described in 1861, it caused a sensation. With wings and feathers, it was considered the first bird, although now scientists don’t think it could fly that well. But unlike modern birds, it also had teeth and a bony tail. Discovered not long after Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by means of natural selection, Archaeopteryx provided an example of evolution in action—a fossil that showed the transition between non-avian dinosaurs and birds. Archaeopteryx by Z. Chuang

American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, 10024 NY, United States

NEW EXHIBITION AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

DINOSAURS AMONG US

Dinosaurs Among Us examines how one group of dinosaurs evolved into the fascinating living creatures we call birds. The exhibition highlights the continuities between living dinosaurs—birds—and their extinct ancestors, showcasing remarkable new evidence for what scientists now call one of the best-documented evolutionary transitions in the history of life.

Dinosaurs Among Us features ancient, rarely seen fossils, and life-like models, including a 23-foot-long feathered tyrannosaur (Yutyrannus huali) and a small four-winged dromeosaur (Anchiornis huxleyi) with a 22-inch wingspan and vivid, patterned plumage. Visitors will encounter a tiny dinosaur whose sleeping posture precisely echoes that of a living bird, an extinct-dinosaur nest containing remains of the adult that guarded the hatchlings, and the fossil cast of a relative of Triceratops that had simple feathers on its body.

The exhibition, which comes on the heels of the unveiling of a 122-foot-long titanosaur cast on permanent display in the Museum’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center, is part of a series of events, public programs, exhibitions, and digital offerings highlighting dramatic developments in paleontology.

Dinosaurs Among Usis curated by Mark Norell, Macaulay Curator in the Division of Paleontology and the division’s chair. The exhibition will be open to the public from Monday, March 21, 2016, to January 2, 2017. Members will be able to preview the exhibition on Friday, March 18 through Sunday, March 20.

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