Prestigious Feathered Dinosaur Exhibition Coming to Nottingham

Exciting Dinosaur Exhibition Coming to Nottingham (Summer 2017)

Feathered dinosaurs turn 21 years old next year and to mark this event, a major dinosaur exhibition is coming to Nottingham (East Midlands of England), in 2017.  Although, the concept of feathered dinosaurs is now very well established, it was just twenty years ago, back in 1996, that the first, non-avian dinosaur species with evidence of fuzzy feathers was described.  Named Sinosauropteryx this lithe meat-eater literally “rocked” scientists as the long-awaited proof of feathered dinosaurs was revealed to the world.

A fossil of Sinosauropteryx Showing the Fuzzy Covering

Sinosauropteryx fossils showing "fuzzy" covering.

Sinosauropteryx fossils showing “fuzzy” covering.

Picture Credit: University of California Museum of Palaeontology

The feathers, little more than a fuzzy integumental covering were too short to allow Sinosauropteryx to fly, they very probably helped to keep this little Chinese dinosaur warm.  Whatever, the role, this was the ground-breaking discovery that helped change how the dinosaurs were viewed.

Unearthing the Feathered Dragons

The dinosaur exhibition coming to Nottingham will be hosted at Wollaton Hall, (Wollaton Park, Nottingham), with a satellite display at Nottingham Lakeside Arts.  The exhibit will tell the story of the evolutionary relationship between Theropod dinosaurs and modern birds, you might think differently about the feathered friends in your own garden, after all, that Starling sitting on the bird table is a distant relative of Tyrannosaurus rex!

Spectacular Feathered Dinosaurs Coming to the UK

Adult and juvenile feathered dinosaurs

Adult and juvenile feathered dinosaurs (Similicaudipteryx)

Picture Credit: Xing Lida and Song Qijin

Meet the Largest Feathered Animal Known to Science

One of the highlights amongst the extensive fossil collection on display will be the massive Gigantoraptor (Gigantoraptor erlianensis), regarded as the biggest feathered animal known to science.  Gigantoraptor was as tall as a giraffe!

Gigantic Gigantoraptor Will Be Part of the Exhibition

Feathers used for display and courtship.

Feathers used for display and courtship.

Picture Credit: BBC (Planet Dinosaur television series)

The beautifully preserved and spectacular fossils will be on loan from the Palaeozoological Museum of China, Shandong TianYu Museum and from the Dinosaur Museum of Erlianhaote (Inner Mongolia).  In addition, to the feathered dinosaurs, there will also be specimens of other Asian dinosaurs in the touring exhibit, all organised in a three-way partnership between the University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council and the Institute of Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology based in Beijing.  Other dinosaurs to feature will include the flying dinosaur Microraptor and other close relatives of the fearsome Velociraptor.

Commenting on this announcement a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“This is fantastic news!  Some of the best preserved dinosaur fossils ever found are coming to Nottinghamshire.  Many of these specimens have only recently been scientifically named and described.  This is a fabulous way to mark the 21st anniversary of the naming of the first, non-avian dinosaur species discovered with feathers and this exhibition will provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase how our knowledge about dinosaurs and their relationship with birds has developed over the last two decades.”

Dinosaurs that Learned How to Fly

Dr Adam Smith, curator and palaeontologist at the Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall, said:

“This spectacular exhibition will provide an opportunity for visitors to experience some of the most important fossils in the world, including new discoveries that have revolutionised our understanding of dinosaurs and the origin of birds.  They are helping scientists to understand the origin of birds and feathers – birds are literally dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs that learned how to fly!”

Dr George Baxter, Director of Business Engagement and Innovation Services at The University of Nottingham, added:

“Bringing this dinosaur exhibition to Nottingham from China is an enormous coup for the city.  Due to the links the University has established with the Institute of Vertebrate of Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, we now have a unique opportunity to host a natural history exhibition of international significance in Nottingham, which would be a tremendous boost to tourism and the local economy.”

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, acknowledged the significance of this announcement:

“We are absolutely thrilled Nottingham has been chosen to host this remarkable exhibition when it comes to Europe for the first time.”

A Rare Opportunity

This is a rare opportunity to view dinosaur fossils that do not travel outside of China that often.  In the Chinese calendar, 2017 will be the year of the Rooster, which is highly appropriate considering the subject area being covered in this exhibition.  We would advise all dinosaur fans not to “chicken out” but to make a date in their diary to see the feathered dinosaurs up close.  What a great way to celebrate a 21st birthday!

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