Mar 27, 2014 · 6:15 PM
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In the past few decades, researchers have established that birds are actually a living lineage of theropod (“beast-footed”) dinosaurs. Prof. Richard Prum will give a talk on this topic.
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For thousands of years, birds have been viewed as a special group of animals, set apart from other creatures by virtue of their extraordinary biology. But in the past few decades, researchers have established that birds are actually a living lineage of theropod (“beast-footed”) dinosaurs. Indeed, dinosaurs did not go extinct; they are the most diverse group of vertebrates on the planet today! Richard Prum, the William Robertson Coe professor of ornithology at Yale, will tell us how scientists arrived at this realization and how it has transformed our understanding of both birds and dinosaurs.
Prof. Richard Prum graduated in 1982 Cum Laude from Harvard with an AB in biology and in 1989 from the University of Michigan with a PhD in biological sciences. After a brilliant early career traveling the globe to record avian mating songs and dances, Prum made a string of discoveries that have reshaped the field’s understanding of such fundamental questions as what feathers are for and how mating rituals drive avian evolution.
If one trait has defined his scientific pursuits, it is his insistence on rejecting scientific dogma and finding answers from nature itself. Partly in recognition of his skill at bridging disciplines, Prum was awarded a MacArthur Foundation genius grant in 2009.