From dinosaurs to birds

Angela Milner

Dino-birds explores the ever-growing evidence supporting the evolution of dinosaurs to birds.

978 0 565 09174 3
November 2002
140 x 150 mm
64 pp
Colour throughout
Natural History Museum


What do Tyrannosaurus rex and Erithacus rubecula (the common European robin) have in common? Much more than you might realise – for the robin in your garden is a modern dinosaur – albeit a small one, but perhaps just as aggressive as its distant giant relative.

The origins of the birds has until now been one of the great enigmas of evolution. Fossils rarely show soft tissues such as hair and feathers, the crucial proof needed to find the missing links in the evolutionary trail from reptile to bird. Until the discovery seven years ago of the first feathered dinosaur from the fine-grained slate of the Liaoning Province of China, there was no hard evidence to prove the theory that birds came from a family of feathered dinosaurs. Now it is believed that feathers were relatively common among the meat-eating dinosaurs. It is even thought possible that Tyrannosaurus rex may have had fluffy chicks!

Dino-birds explores the ever-growing evidence supporting the evolution of dinosaurs to birds. Dinosaur expert Angela Milner looks at the astounding fossil 'feathery' dinosaurs from China and the bird fossils from other sites around the world, to take us on a journey from those dinosaurs to the birds we see today. Looking at the people involved and the debates that ensued this is an exciting little book packed with information on every page, and beautifully illustrated throughout.

See inside

Look inside this book to get an idea of its content.

Pages from Dino-birds

Archaeopteryx, the most ancient bird known, and a magpie. But are the two species linked?

Pages from Dino-birds

Dinosaur fossils, including a 40cm-long Coelurosaur (right).

Pages from Dino-birds

Sinornithosaurus, found in 1998, confirmed that the family closest to Archaeopteryx were feather-covered.

Pages from Dino-birds

Archaeopteryx, with clawed fingers, toothed jaws and wings, was part bird and part dinosaur.

Pages from Dino-birds

Examples of exquisite fossil preservation from Liaoning Province, China.

Pages from Dino-birds

Deinonychus, a 3m long, lightly built, fast-running predatory dinosaur.


Dr Angela Milner is Deputy Keeper of the Department of Palaeontology, Head of the Fossil Vertebrates Division, and dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum, London. 

She has written several books on dinosaurs including co-authoring The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs, and has collected fossils from as far away as China and the Sahara Desert.


Find out what others think of this book.

"Dino-Birds is a short pocket book...the pages are lavishly illustrated, and contain some surprisingly well-reproduced photos of the fossils. The text is pitched at the interested layperson and isn't overly dumbed-down."

Ibis, journal of the British Ornithologists' Union

"As a non-palaeontologist, I found this charming little book fascinating. It collates the current evidence based on the palaeontological finds from Liaoning Province...The finds first became known in 1996. Since then, fossils from this area have continued to excite and thrill, not only palaeontologists, but the whole scientific world...The superb illustrations of the fossils finds from this area are supplemented by excellent line drawings...This little book does not set out to provide all the answers, rather a snapshot in time, of a range of feathered dinosaurs and birds living together in a lakeside community close to erupting volcanoes that periodically covered the area in layers of fine ash, which gave rise to the exceptional state of preservation of these amazing creatures...I can recommend this delightful book to any one interested in fossil finds, dinosaurs or simply for a fascinating read of part of our geological history. "

GA, magazine of the Geologists' Association

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