Festival of Nature 2019 Presents: Michael Benton

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Thursday 6 June, 6:30pm-7:30pm, The Station, Silver St, Bristol, BS1 2AG

Festival of Nature 2019 includes a special series on nature writing. We’ve asked 5 different writers to join us at 4 feature events in Bristol to share their work, their upcoming projects, and to help us explore the nation’s ongoing love for nature writing. Join us!

We are living in ‘a new golden age of dinosaur science’ (The Times, 19 January 2019). It’s true. Recently, there has been a revolution in dinosaur science. Questions we thought we unanswerable can now be answered. How fast could dinosaurs run? What was the force of their bite? Were they feathered, and what colour were they? How did they care for their young? How could they be so huge?

Over the past twenty years, the study of dinosaurs has changed from natural history to a true scientific discipline. New technologies have revealed secrets locked in the prehistoric bones in ways that nobody predicted. Remarkable new fossil finds, such as giant sauropod dinosaur skeletons from Patagonia, dinosaurs with feathers from China, and even a tiny dinosaur tail in Burmese amber – complete down to every detail of its filament-like feathers, skin, bones, and mummified tail muscles – have caused media sensations. New fossils are the lifeblood of modern palaeobiology, of course, but it is the advances in technologies and methods that have driven the revolution in the scope and confidence of the field.

The Dinosaurs Rediscovered presents all the latest palaeontological evidence, with first-hand insights from behindthe scenes of the expeditions and in museum laboratories, tracing the transformation of dinosaur study from its roots in antiquated natural history to a highly technical, computational and indisputable scientific field today. In this engaging, anecdotal account, University of Bristol Professor Michael Benton explores what we know of the world of the dinosaurs, how dinosaur remains are found and excavated, and especially how palaeontologists read the details of the life of the dinosaurs from their fossils – their colours, their growth, feeding and locomotion, how the grew from egg to adult, how they sensed the world, and even whether we will ever be able to bring them back to life.