NPR logo

Dinosaurs with Feathers, or Primitive Birds?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1647624/1648277" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Dinosaurs with Feathers, or Primitive Birds?

Dinosaurs with Feathers, or Primitive Birds?

Exhibit of Chinese Fossils Revives Debate on Bird Evolution

Dinosaurs with Feathers, or Primitive Birds?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1647624/1648277" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A model of what paleontologists believe a raptor with feathers would have looked like 120 million years ago. Eric Niiler for NPR News hide caption

toggle caption Eric Niiler for NPR News

A new exhibit of dinosaurs sporting feathers is stirring controversy in the scientific community. The exhibit's organizer says the fossils prove that birds, as a species, are much older than researchers previously believe.

Eric Niiler of member station KPBS toured the exhibit at San Diego's Natural History Museum, which features 120-million-year-old fossils discovered in northeastern China. The exhibit includes 10-foot-tall models of what some paleontologists believe a feathered raptor might have looked like.

Not everyone in the scientific community believes in the dinosaur-bird connection. But the curator of the exhibit, dinosaur sculptor and self-styled paleontologist Stephen Czerkas is adding a new wrinkle to the debate: He claims what many scientists believe are feathered dinosaurs are really primitive birds.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.