The Tyrannosaurus rex: the first dinosaur whose name you remembered and the star of Jurassic Park. It lived for 2 million years at the end of the Cretaceous period. It was big, fierce, and went extinct along with the rest of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, when a giant fireball collided with Earth near the Yucatan Peninsula. Except, maybe they didn’t go extinct…
Recent research has shown that many dinosaurs had feathers. Most likely these were used for maintaining body temperature and for wooing a mate. Those feathers then became useful for flying. So not all dinosaurs went extinct, some evolved into birds. Including chickens – the world’s first domestic dinosaur!
The wild ancestor of the chicken (the Junglefowl – there’s one on display in the museum, see if you can find it) is a relatively small, scrawny bird. Junglefowl weight about 1kg – there’s not much meat on them! But people love to eat chicken so, through selective breeding, humans have created birds that are, today, over twice the weight of Junglefowl. And they grow fast, achieving full carcass weight in just 35 days!
If bigger is better, it won’t take too many more decades before we’re growing chickens the size of a T-rex. Be afraid – we may be entering the Age of the Dinnersaurs!
Watch a film about the Dinnersaurs here
Dinnersaurus rex was made by pupils from the City of London Academy, under the direction of artist Ben Frimet. It is a memorial to the chicken’s descent – both from its dinosaur origins and in terms of its fall into mass exploitation.
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