It’s Dinovember, and we’re celebrating with the Art of Archaeopteryx

Nature's Lessons: Reawakening our Sense of Awe
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology - Berlin 2014

The month of November is perfect for celebrating dinosaurs.

#DINOVEMBER

A holiday with a turkey dinner. (Turkeys are dinosaurs!)

The annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP), which focuses on dinosaurs as well as other extinct vertebrates, was just held in Berlin.

And paleontology blogs across the internet are alive with the fervor of Dinovember.

And it’s no surprise that Jessi and I are big fans of dinosaurs and other extinct animals. She works at a natural history museum, I studied dinosaur droppings in graduate school, and we’re both educators in museum and K-12 science.

Now, originally Dinovember started as a little joke between Refe and Susan Tuma. Their goal? To convince their children that the kids’ plastic dinosaur toys came to life during the month of November.

Just like my childhood birthdays of yesteryear! Image (c) Refe and Susan Tuma
Just like my childhood birthdays of yesteryear! Image (c) Refe and Susan Tuma

Hence, the hashtag and phenomenon that is #Dinovember.

Don’t get us wrong, we love the idea of petrifying and delighting little kids with the idea of their dinosaur toys coming to life.

But this post is going to focus on our passion for paleontology education, and the excitement of new information in the field of dinosaur paleontology.

Since Jessi and I are museum geeks, and we love art, we wanted to highlight the new special exhibit announced at this year’s SVP meeting.

Dinosaurs in Flight: The Art of Archaeopteryx

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A group of premier paleoartists, experts in reconstructing ancient worlds through traditional and digital art media, have collaborated to create the art and backdrop for a new exhibit on the feathered dinosaur Archaeopteryx. 

More than perhaps any other fossil, Archaeopteryx has been a landmark specimen in science since the time of Charles Darwin. Darwin himself was influenced by the fossil’s striking array of reptilian features–a toothy snout, a long tail, clawed hands–as well as the unusual impressions of feathers. This dinosaur most definitely had wings, and Archaeopteryx sparked a debate that would eventually turn into paleontological consensus: Birds are living, breathing dinosaurs.

To illustrate (pun intended?) the beauty of Archaeopteryx, the new exhibit, titled Dinosaurs in Flight: The Art of Archaeopteryx, will display eight replica fossils of the dinosaur-bird. Several other Solnhofen fossils from the actual Jurassic limestone in Germany will also be on display, including fish, dragonflies, horseshoe crabs, and brittle stars. A big centerpiece will be the mounted London specimen of Archaeopteryx, and the only replica of the Archaeopteryx specimen from Thermopolis, Wyoming.

Over 50 art pieces depicting this iconic fossil and its life reconstruction will transport people who visit back to Jurassic Germany, when Europe was a temperate swamp chock full of ancient life.

Artists represented in the exhibit are all top notch, check them out here!

We first heard about this exhibit through our friend Julius Csotonyi, one of the paleoartists who collaborated on the Art of Archaeopteryx.

You can check out Julius’ work here, or buy his new book here!

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Were you aware of the awesome joy that is #Dinovember? Share your photos of dinosaurs coming to life, or your thoughts on dinosaur madness in general! We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Nature's Lessons: Reawakening our Sense of Awe
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology - Berlin 2014