THATNat: Bird or Dinosaur?

During your THATNat hunt, you’ll likely meet one of the Natural History Museum’s most prized fossils – the archaeopteryx. This winged creature caused quite the stir when it was discovered in the 19th century. Some people actually thought it was an angel. We can see why.

Instead, scientists debated whether it was a dinosaur or a bird. It had wing and bones like a bird, but claws and a snout like a dinosaur. This mishmash of features caused people to evoke the theory put forward by Charles Darwin, one of the UK’s most famous scientists.

The name of this theory is, of course, an answer for some bonus bling during our THATNat hunt, so we won’t give it away just yet.

Dinosaurs, however, were allegedly ancestors of birds. Look at the ostrich feet in the Bird Hall and you’d think it came from a dinosaur called a “raptor” (which means “bird of prey,” by the way). Does it seem possible that these giant reptiles ended were the starting point for today’s flamingos and hawks? It’s not for us to decide. We’ll let the scientists keep discussing it – but, if you are a betting person, the answer is likely yes!

Think about Darwin’s theory, and bring it for an easy answer on the upcoming THATNat hunt, Dinosaurs and Extinct Beasts, on March 25th. There will be plenty of Easter eggs to find, and we’ll usher in the spring with some good old-fashioned fun and games.