The Christian Science Monitor

Is the dinosaur family tree becoming a dinosaur?

The dinosaur family tree has two main branches: the bird-hipped dinosaurs and the lizard-hipped dinosaurs. Paleontologists have built upon this idea for nearly 130 years. Textbook writers know it. Museum curators know it. Even children know it.

But what if it’s wrong? What if the established dinosaur family tree is, well, a dinosaur?

That question has sparked a heated debate among paleontologists. The Victorian-era model now has a formidable rival.

The debate reverberates beyond paleontology, as learning about dinosaurs often marks our first interaction with evolutionary biology. So as the scientists delve into the data, they open a window for the public to view how scientific models change.

“Just because we grew up with these ideas doesn’t mean that that’s set in stone,” says Peter Makovicky, associate

The Victorian modelA 'Rosetta Stone' fossil

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