Tuesday, August 16, 2005

ROM Feathered Theropod Confusion?

Stephan Strauss of The Globe and Mail has this intersting article on the Feathered Dinosaur Show on now at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
It has been widely believed that birds are the direct descendents of dinosaurs. And this view was in part based on fossils, which people interpreted to be birdlike dinosaurs that were birds' forebears. But the new research suggests, says Stephen Czerkas, the Utah paleontologist and dinosaur sculpturer who mounted the exhibit, that "what people saw as ground dwelling dinosaurs, but which were still bird-like, were in fact actually birds.

Then one goes to the second part of the exhibit – you know it's mounted by the ROM itself because it's bilingual – where a whole bunch of evidence shows the similarities between dinosaurs and birds. Hard eggs, feathers, walking on two legs etc., leading to the last poster's final sentences: "This much is certain. No matter how far back you place the first bird. All dinosaurs are birds."

Hmmm, but didn't the first part opening argue that birds weren't the descendent of dinosaurs? Mark Engstrom, vice-president for collections and research at the ROM, justifies his exhibit by saying, "we often mount our own exhibits in conjunction with travelling shows." He brushes aside the disagreements between the first and second interpretations by suggesting it is really an academic dispute."
Read the full article to see if Mr. Strauss can clear up the confusion!

Thanks to Jumpin' Judy Horan for the head's up on this!