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