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My visit with the feathered dromaeosaur . . .



I was at the AMNH last week and, after spending Thursday measuring the
articular surfaces of mosasaur vertebrae, I came back on Friday to see the
Chinese dinobird. Unfortunately, part of the Lila Acheson Wallace wing and
the entire Astor Tower (the dinobird occupies the latter) had been blocked
off for an awards ceremony of some sort. So, I waited from about noon until
about 4 p.m., when the ceremony was finished and all the chairs and tables
were removed, to get a look at the specimen. While the wait was mildly
annoying, it was also worthwhile.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it's simply one of the most beautiful
fossils I've ever seen. None of the photographs do it justice. It isn't an
exagerration to say that the specimen left me breathless. From a scientific
standpoint, the one thing that I kept thinking, again and again, as I stood
there looking at the slab and counterslab, was what wonders must remain
undiscovered at Liaoning.

Caitlin R. Kiernan