Dinosaurs never really vanished from Earth — most are extinct, but their evolutionary legacy lives on in birds. The American Museum of Natural History’s new exhibition, “Dinosaurs Among Us,” which opens Monday, March 21, highlights the line between dinosaurs and modern birds, marked by shared features including feathers, wishbones, enlarged brains and extremely efficient respiratory systems.
“While paleontology has been a proud part of this institution’s legacy for more than 100 years, we live today in an exciting new era of advancement in dinosaur research,” Ellen V. Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History, said in a news release. “There has never been a more interesting time to enjoy dinosaurs or a more fascinating time to learn about their behavior, appearance and connection to current life, specifically modern birds.”
Living birds belong to a group, or clade, called the Dinosauria. It includes the extinct dinosaurs and all their living descendants, which is why most scientists now agree that birds are a kind of dinosaur just like we are a kind of mammal.
“The idea that birds are dinosaurs isn’t a new one — it was first proposed by Thomas Huxley about 150 years ago,” said Michael Novacek, the museum’s senior vice president and provost for Science. “But now it’s taken on a whole new dimension as different technologies, and as a result, different ideas, are being applied to the field.”
“Dinosaurs Among Us” features rarely seen fossils and lifelike models, including a 23-foot-long tyrannosaur (Yutyrannus huali) with a shaggy coat of filaments called proto-feathers and a small dromeosaur (Anchiornis huxleyi) with a 22-inch wingspan and vivid, patterned plumage on all four limbs.
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.
The exhibition will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. through Jan. 2, 2017. (The museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.) Suggested general admission, which supports the Museum’s scientific and educational endeavors and offers access to the Museum’s 45 halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space, is $22 (adults), $17 (students/seniors), and $12.50 (children).
For more information, call 212-769-5100 or visit amnh.org.