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Missing link between dinosaurs and birds explained at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

  • Archaeopteryx dinosaur exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

Dinosaurs have been enjoyed on the big screen recently, with hit film "Jurassic World" breaking box office records. Now, on Saturday 18 July 2015, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is to open a new exhibition "Archaeopteryx - the missing link between dinosaurs and birds", exploring how some of these powerful creatures evolved.

This exhibition from the Department of Geology at the National Museum of Wales examines the history of the discovery of the famous Archaeopteryx specimens, from the discovery of the first one in 1861 right up to the present day.

Only 11 specimens of this famous 'missing link' have ever been found, and they all originate from the late Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone of Germany, a lagerstätten, or rock showing fossils with exceptional preservation. The fine-grained rocks preserve details which are never usually seen fossilised. Insect wings, soft-bodied fossils and feathers are all equally well preserved.

Archaeopteryx has long been known as the missing link between dinosaurs and birds, and recent discoveries in China proving the existence of earlier feathered dinosaurs helps prove this evolutionary lineage.

The eleven Archaeopteryx specimens are represented by five resin casts and six life-sized high-resolution images. The exhibition is supported by replica casts of the only dinosaur known from the Solnhofen and of one of the recently discovered Chinese feathered dinosaurs, and also a number of additional real and replica Solnhofen specimens.

Tina Woodward, Shropshire Council's deputy Cabinet member responsible for museums, said:

"The new exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery will unveil an intriguing link between the classic dinosaur period portrayed on the big screen and the creatures we are more familiar with today. I am sure visitors will find this exhibition fascinating. We are very grateful to the National Museum of Wales for loaning these superb specimens."

The Archaeopteryx exhibition is open daily in the Special Exhibition Gallery at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery from Saturday 18 July 2015 to Bank Holiday Monday 31 August 2015.

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