Thursday, May 16, 2013

Carl Zimmer's Feather Evolution video

Science writer Carl Zimmer narrates a recent TED educational video summarizing our knowledge about the evolution of feathers. Part of a lesson at the TED-Ed site and animated by Armella Leung, it's a really well done crash course in current thinking on feather origins.

Did you note the derivatives from different pieces of paleoart? The Epidexipteryx is clearly based on the Qiu Ji and Xing Lida reconstruction, and the displaying Caudipteryx is Sydney Mohr's.

Those bits aside, I love the way the idea of deep time's mysteries and evolution's imperfect and haphazard processes are illustrated with the sketchy illustration style, and the use of the white feather silhouettes when Zimmer discusses the early functions of feathers is inspired.


  1. Why would feathers diminish the coolness of dinosaurs? Just because it makes them more familiar, more like creatures we already know about? I think scientists need research paper help. I think brightly-colored feathers on the arms of a T. rex would make it even more scary looking, for example.


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