Exhibition: Dinosaurs in your Garden, Abergavenny Museum, Abergavenny, January 16 – May 9 2010
Combining colourful panels with real and cast dinosaur bones, teeth and footprints, this touring exhibition from the geology buffs at National Museum Wales aims to prove the surprisingly close link the unassuming garden bird holds with the decidedly more threatening Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptors.
Scientists are generally in agreement that most of the birds we know and love have evolved from feathered dinosaurs, based on evidence initially surmised through the discovery of a single fossil feather in Southern Germany in 1860.
A year later, the near-complete skeleton of the oldest known bird – dating from 150 million years ago – was found with impressions of feathers preserved in fine mud rock.
They may be widely regarded as friends rather than foes, but today’s birds also bear behavioural traits which are uncannily similar to their fiercer ancestors.
Parallel trackways have revealed that dinosaurs moved in herds and packs, nested and built their homes in colonies and, according to fossil sites in Montana and Argentina, built nests and laid eggs.
The meeker breed, though, ultimately enjoyed the last laugh. When dinosaurs suddenly became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 million years ago, the birds survived.