Not long ago, this title would have raised not only eyebrows, but also serious questions about the author’s sanity. However, paleontological discoveries, particularly in China in the last two decades, have convinced most evolutionary biologists and paleontologists that dinosaurs not only survived, they currently thrive at a global scale. Some scientists refer to them as “avian dinosaurs,” but most people call them “birds.”
It is a bit of a stretch to connect an Anna’s hummingbird hovering over a monkey flower with a Tyrannosaurus rex, but that is exactly what Ed Clifton, Ph.D. will attempt at the October Docent Meeting. He will track the evolutionary processes that led to dinosaurs, birds and the flying reptiles of the Mesozoic. He will discuss the origins of feathers, wings and flight and how certain avian dinosaurs may have survived the cataclysm that ended the Mesozoic Era. We will follow the evolution of birds since that great catastrophe and close with speculation about the birds of the future.
Ed is a prominent and internationally acclaimed research scientist who was a leader in science for the U. S. Geological Survey where he specialized in coastal research for 30 years. He served as branch chief from 1978 to 1981 and is currently an emeritus scientist with the USGA Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team. He received his PhD in geology from the Johns Hopkins University in 1963, and since 2002, Ed has been both a guide at the MB Aquarium and a Point Lobos Docent where he is known to virtually all of the Docents as the teacher of the Reserve’s geology.