Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dinosaur feathers in amber.  Scientists looking for unambiguous evidence that at least some dinosaurs had feathers found exactly what they were looking for.  They found other interesting things, too.

For most of my life scientists thought that dinosaurs and birds had very different lineages.  The discovery that birds actually are dinosaurs that survived the extinction events is relatively recent, and turns all our notions of what dinosaurs looked like – and probably how the behaved, how smart they were, and much more – completely upside-down.  The hard work and series of discoveries that went into that new understanding is a truly marvelous example of good science.  Those scientists didn't figure this out by building computer models that magically showed birds were dinosaurs.  It was good old-fashioned scientific observation, theory formation, and confirmation – repeatably – that got them there.

Climate scientists: please take note.

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