Dino-color extravaganza::New Visions of a Lost World

Michael J. Benton

Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology, University of Bristol


Twenty-five years ago, the first feathered dinosaur was reported, Sinosauropteryx. There has been a revolution in dinosaur palaeobiology since then, driven by thousands of amazing specimens from China plus new analytical methods.

In 2010, we were among the first to develop a new analytical method to identify the colour of feathers, including the feathers of dinosaurs. Suddenly the ancient world came to life!

Since then, the methods have been criticised, tested, and applied to many exceptional fossils of dinosaurs and birds, and the plumage colours and patterns reconstructed. These methods are scientific, meaning they can be tested (and so far they have withstood critical testing), and they make definite predictions about the colours of dinosaurs and other extinct animals.

In a new collaboration, Mike Benton works with renowned palaeo-artist Bob Nicholls to bring to life 15 dinosaurs, birds and pterosaurs from all continents, and to show in detail how they looked in life. For the first time, we can believe what we see in the reconstruction, based on intimate study of skin, scales, and feathers of these ancient beasts.

Mike and Bob’s book ‘Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World’ is published in September 2021 by Thames & Hudson.

DETAILS OF MEETING: Professor Benton's talk will be given at 6.30pm on 23rd September next. It will be delivered via Zoom. We expect many members and readers will want to attend. Please notify the Secretary at mgostwick@gmail.com if you intend to do so to ensure you are sent the required link when we have it.

Professor Benton, FRS & FRSE, was awarded OBE for services to palaeontology in the birthday honours list.




Black Isle storyteller Lizzie McDougall of Highland Story Quilts invites you to watch a 10-minute story-telling video she has made on YouTube. She has chosen the perennial children's favourite, Capt Reid and the Mermaid from Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland, and filmed it at the Birthplace Cottage.

She found it "an honour and inspiration" to sit by the fireside in the kitchen. She is supported on the clarsach by Siannie Moodie.

She adds: "My feeling is that even though Lockdown restrictions are lifting there will be many people who for many reasons are not going to be going out much so I have made these videos for people to watch at home . My hope is that the videos encourage a feeling of connection to some of the special places here in the Highlands."

Videos are also shown of Abertarff House in Inverness (NTS) and Foulis Castle., and she thanks  the National Trust for Scotland,Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland,  and The Munro Family at Foulis Castle 

Here is the link https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqDziq3MdVKA3MHWj2Sl6lxiQsWtiFOFs



It is great news that the Miller-Dick connection through the Saxon Collection reported in the latest Hugh's News (No 48, May 2021) is making further progress. Our Chairman, Bob Davidson has accepted an invitation to be scientific advisor to the Castlehill Heritage Centre who have received in donation, the fossil fish collection of the late Jack Saxon of Thurso. He will  advise on curation and display

Bob has been gaining further recognition on top of his recently awarded MBE.
He  was elected a fellow of the Geological  Society of London in November 2020 with sponsorship from Mike Newman FGS , one of our members. This means he can add “FGS” after his Royal gong.

He has also accepted a request to sit on the committee for the first revision of the Fossil Code by Nature Scotland (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage). The Code's initial production was largely an initiative of the late Professor Nigel Trewin.

View All Stories




site map | cookie policy | privacy policy | accessibility statement