The dinosaurs rediscovered: How a scientific revolution is rewriting history

Foredrag med Vin & Videnskab


MICHAEL BENTON (UK)  Professor, palaeontologist, author

NB: Foredraget vil være på engelsk / the talk will be in English.

Our international guest speaker of the season is Professor Michael Benton. He is a leading British palaeontologist and evolutionary scientist who has made fundamental contributions to understanding the history of life. He was one of the experts consulted by BBC in connection with their series Walking with Dinosaurs, and he has published a number of acclaimed books.

His latest book is entitled “The Dinosaurs Rediscovered: How a Scientific Revolution is Rewriting History” (2019) and this will be the topic of his talk at Wine & Science.

Over the past twenty years, our understanding of dinosaurs has changed dramatically and has revealed things that nobody predicted. This is due to remarkable new fossil finds combined with a revolution in the techniques available to analyse fossils. Palaeontologists can now work out the colour of dinosaurs, their bite forces, top speeds, and even how they cared for their young.

Tonight, Michael Benton will give us insights into how far our knowledge of dinosaurs has come. He will present the latest palaeontological evidence, bring us on excavation expeditions as well as into high-tech laboratories, and explore how scientists are able to read the details of the life of the dinosaurs from their fossils.

Host of the evening will be Peter Kjærgaard, Professor of Evolutionary History and Museum Director at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

A glass of wine will be served during the intermission (included in the price).

About Michael Benton

Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at Bristol University, UK

His research interests include diversification of life, quality of the fossil record, mass extinctions, Triassic ecosystem evolution, basal archosaurs, and the origin of the dinosaurs. A key theme is the Permo-Triassic mass extinction, the largest mass extinction of all time, which took place over 250 million years ago, where he investigates how life was able to recover from such a devastating event.

This connects with the origin of dinosaurs, which now evidently happened earlier than we thought, and at a time of quickening physiology and ecology. After the extinction, mammals and their ancestors and dinosaurs and their ancestors shifted posture to be upright and became warm-blooded, sporting for the first time feathers on the one hand and hair on the other. We think we know the fossils and the major events in the history of life - but sometimes new discoveries and new analytical methods force a major rethink.