Becoming an adult means overturning the truths of your childhood: That Santa Claus is real, that Star Wars is a documentary, that broccoli tastes bad. But one of the hardest for me to wrap my head around was that dinosaurs weren't huge lizards, but basically huge birds, and with feathers to boot.
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After carefully studying the evidence—by which I mean, I watched Jurassic Park at least three times—I now understand that it's true, though I've always had trouble envisioning what a dinosaur with feathers would look like. But now the American Museum of Natural History has mounted a show, Dinosaurs Among Us, which spells it out with some terrifying illustrations and meticulously constructed dino-mannequins:
Tianyulong confuciusi is a feathered dinosaur that belongs to the same branch of the family tree as Stegosaurus and Triceratops. PHOTOGRAPH BY AMNH, RODERICK MICKENS
Discovered in China in 2012, this "beautiful feathered tyrant" weighed 1.5 tons and was a fearsome predator like its relative T. rex. PHOTOGRAPH BY AMNH/R. MICKENS Enter a caption (optional)
The first specimens of this brooding dino were discovered in Mongolia in 1993. PHOTOGRAPH BY AMNH, R. MICKENS
The bird-like traits of this theropod include hinged ankles, swivel-jointed wrists, a wishbone, and forward-facing toes. PHOTOGRAPH BY AMNH, R. MICKENS
This small, horned "parrot lizard" is a relative of Triceratops that had feathery fibers along its tail. PHOTOGRAPH BY ©AMNH, C. CHESEK
The show runs through January of next year.