The Speakers Series is back on at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
The free lectures feature experts from the museum and outside who talk about different topics.
This week's lecture features Speakers Series organizer Dr. Francois Therrien, Curator of Dinosaur Paleontology at the Tyrrell, with an answer to the question 'how did birds get their wings?'
"There had been several theories to explain how wings could have evolved among the dinosaurian ancestor of birds," he explained. "All the scenarios were kind of plausible, but all very difficult to confirm or verify using the fossil record."
"The discovery in 2012 of feathered ornithomimids (bird like dinosaurs) in the Drumheller Valley and in Dinosaur Provincial Park offered us an alternative hypothesis for the origin of wings," he revealed. "It's) one that we would have never thought of and actually makes a lot of sense, and it is testable because we have the fossils to prove that alternative theory."
And what, exactly, is that alternative theory?
"The first reasons why wings evolved were not related to flight, they were totally related for something that you'd say 'well that's stupid; why would these animals evolve wings for that purpose?," stated Therrien. "It turned out that they evolved for another reason and then, just like so many things in evolution, wings were later co-opted for other functions."
So, what's the final answer for the reason wings evolved? Catch Dr. Therrien's lecture Thursday morning at 11:00 in the museum auditorium. It will also be rerun on the Tyrrell's YouTube page.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

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