PacSci Perspectives

Evolution For The Dinosaurs

by | Mar 4, 2016

Pacific Science Center’s dinosaur exhibit is many things. It’s iconic. It’s beloved. To many kids, it’s real. It’s also a bit static, and very much considered a place for kids to go and play make-believe. For a space that introduces animals that once occupied the earth, lived, changed, and eventually became extinct, the exhibit cries out for an infusion of liveliness. With those criteria in mind, our Animal Care team decided to try a small experiment with live animals in the Dino exhibit space.

At Pacific Science Center we exhibit snakes, a turtle and an iguana. Because scientists once assumed that dinosaurs resembled modern reptiles, it was a reasonable idea to feature one of our animals in the dino exhibit.

However, recent fossil discoveries in hearts, bones, skeletons, and even feathers from dinosaurs have blurred the line between these extinct creatures and modern birds. This doesn’t mean dinosaurs were not reptiles. The research suggests that birds are part of that group as well.

Evolution for Dinosaurs

Evolution for Dinosaurs

Currently, Pacific Science Center does not exhibit any birds so Animal Care decided to start with a bird that is rugged, that everyone knows, and could be observed hatching. We chose a bird that many Seattleites keep in their yards, and know how to care for.

We present the humble but amazing chicken!

In early February, we started incubating two-dozen eggs in an eye-pleasing variety of colors and sizes, projecting footage of the eggs onto a big screen so guests could observe them hatch. Many kids expressed the hope that velociraptors would hatch out of them. Instead, on Feb. 22, baby chicks hatched out.

Evolution for Dinosaurs

Evolution for Dinosaurs

In case our eggs didn’t do well, we planned accordingly. But we had great success and more eggs hatched than we have room for in our display. Seattle Farm Coop has offered to accept the extra chicks. They also helped us with early care for our new hatchlings and got them off to a healthy start.

If you are planning a visit to Pacific Science Center before March 15, we encourage you to come by the dinosaur area and say “Hi” to our chicks or watch their antics on our web cam. After that, the brood heads to their permanent home with a devoted Seattle chicken keeper.

Learn more about the connection between dinosaurs and birds, listen to a behind-the-scenes podcast with Life Sciences Manager Sarah Moore and browse FAQs about RAWR Tweet Tweet!

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