City of Mesa, AZ

Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origins of Flight

Kids meet Deinonychus
Kids meet Deinonychus

Therizinosaur: The Ultimate Big Bird
Therizinosaur: The Ultimate Big Bird

Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight, an exhibition at the Arizona Museum of Natural History from March 1 through September 28, presents exciting evidence from remarkable fossils discovered in China that are bringing new answers to the on-going debate about the relationship between dinosaurs and birds, as well as how they evolved the ability to fly.

The exhibit is a rare opportunity to see firsthand a collection of 35 fossils that are national treasures on loan from the People’s Republic of China. These fossils reveal a new understanding of how birds are related to dinosaurs. Also on display are many life-size recreations that demonstrate startling changes in how dinosaurs have been portrayed over the years.

Caudipteryx
 

Caudipteryx fossil

Caudipteryx fossil in ultraviolet light

1. Caudipteryx fossil

2. Caudipteryx fossil in ultraviolet light

1. The fossil of Caudipteryx preserved not only the bones, but also impressions of feathers from the wings and tail. Caudipteryx was originally thought of as a small feathered dinosaur, but it was actually a very primitive bird which had lost the ability to fly, much like the Ostrich of today. The Dinosaur Museum © 2004.

2. The skeletal remains in the fossil of Caudipteryx fluoresce in ultra-violet light and appear a bright golden color. The Dinosaur Museum © 2004.

photo of statue

3. Caudipteryx sculpture. The life restoration of Caudipteryx based on information from the fossil revealed that it had a very bird-like appearance. Caudipteryx was not capable of flying. Sculpture by Stephen Czerkas, © 2005.


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