1868 – Huxley Establishes Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds
On this day in dinosaurs, The Annals and Magazine of Natural History published Thomas Henry Huxley’s “On the Animals Which Are Most Nearly Intermediate Between Birds and Reptiles” which came to some fascinating conclusions. Based on the newly discovered Compsognathus longpipes and Archaeopteryx lithographica, Huxley established several anatomical links between birds and dinosaurs.
After ruling out pterosaurs as early birds, Huxley asked:
Can we find any extinct reptiles which approached the flightless birds, not merely in the weakness of their forelimbs, but in other and more important characteristics? I imagine that we can, if we cast our eyes in what at first sight seems to be a most unlikely direction. The Dinosauria…appear to me to furnish the requited conditions.
This link between dinosaurs and birds did not truly become established as fact until more than a century later when more discoveries and new ideas about dinosaurs helped confirm what Huxley alleged many years earlier. “Darwin’s Bulldog” was perceptive of the relationship between the non-avian Mesozoic dinosaurs and the extant Aves groups and was the first to suggest an evolutionarily link between two of the most beloved animal groups (or more correctly, one group whose members are separated by millions of years) that have ever existed.
1946 – Pete Postlethwaite Born
Today we also celebrate the birth of Pete Postlethwaite, famous among dinophiles for his role in Jurassic Park II: The Lost World.
Postlethwaite’s character, Roland Tembo, is one of the world’s best big game hunters and he’s come to Isla Sorna for the opportunity to hunt a buck Tyrannosaurus. Unfortunately, he can’t remember the names of the other dinosaurs and gives them humorous monikers as the hunt to bring dinosaurs back to the mainland heats up.