Eating the kin of dinosaurs

For as far back as I can remember I have been fascinated with dinosaurs. As a child, I read as much as I could from encyclopedias and nonfiction books on the subject and dreamed of traveling back in time to see for myself.

In high school, every time a science fiction or fantasy book came along that had dinosaurs in the story, I checked the book out from the school library.

It may not surprise anyone when I reveal that I own a set of the DVDs of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park franchise.

That’s why soon after one issue of Smithsonian magazine arrived in the mail and I saw China’s Dinosaurs listed on the cover of the magazine, I couldn’t wait to read the piece.

Smithsonian says, One of China’s star paleontologists, Zhou Zhonghe (and colleagues) in 1995 announced the discovery of a fossil from  (China’s) prehistoric disaster zone that heralded a new age of paleontology.

from Discovery Science

The fossil was a primitive bird the size of a crow. They named the new species Confuciusornis, after the Chinese philosopher.

Zhou works at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. The discovery Zhou and his colleagues made answered one of the biggest questions in dinosaur science about the real relationship between birds and dinosaurs.

Smithsonian says, “China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds.”

The idea that birds are descended directly from the dinosaurs isn’t new.  Smithsonian says, that in 1870, an English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley wrote a treatise on the subject.

So, next time you eat turkey or chicken remember you are chewing on a descendent of the dinosaurs.

Discover more of China’s past from The Machines of China


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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