Glorified Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds

Our October 17, 2019 speaker Elliott Dabill will discuss some global findings of the last thirty years that promise to enrich what you know about birds: Fossil finds that show feathers, fossils that connect birds to dinosaurs, and bird behavior and physiology that can now be explained through deep time. We are in the golden age of dinosaur exposition, especially of the dinosaurs that are birds.

Every part of a bird’s body that we think of as only for the birds was invented and elaborated by non-avian dinosaurs first. Feathers, claws, beaks and parts you may not have known about allowed the T-rexes and triceratopses to dominate the world for 160 million years. Humans, for comparison, have been around for less than 300 thousand.

The startling scientific findings over recent decades have shown a detailed series of discoveries linking dinosaurs and birds. Dabill will explain how we came to make the connections that reveal the truth about birds: they are dinosaurs, all of them, and they survived the asteroid that killed off their relatives that couldn’t fly.

Elliott Dabill has been interested in dinosaurs for decades. They became a focus of his enduring passion about the subject of evolution. He has driven over 5,000 miles to visit Western U.S. dinosaur museums, for example.

Dabill, a biologist and educator, taught high school for 18 years. He is the current president of Friends of the Arcata Marsh, which works closely with the Redwood Region Audubon chapter in Humboldt County. Dabill leads tours of the marsh at least monthly.

Join us to learn about this story so exciting that all birders will be fascinated by the connections between dinosaurs and birds.