Feathered Dinosaurs

In a programme first broadcast in 2017, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development of theories about dinosaur feathers, following discoveries of fossils which show evidence of feathers. All dinosaurs were originally thought to be related to lizards - the word ‘dinosaur’ was created from the Greek for ‘terrible lizard’ - but that now appears false. In the last century, discoveries of fossils with feathers established that at least some dinosaurs were feathered and that some of those survived the great extinctions and evolved into the birds we see today. There are still many outstanding areas for study, such as what sorts of feathers they were, where on the body they were found, what their purpose was and which dinosaurs had them.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Mike Benton 4 episodes
    Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol
  • Steve Brusatte 3 episodes
    Reader and Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Edinburgh
  • Maria McNamara No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Geology at University College, Cork

Reading list

  • Vertebrate Palaeontology
    Michael Benton (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014) Google Books →
  • Dinosaur Paleobiology
    Stephen L. Brusatte (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) Google Books →
  • Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History
    David E. Fastovsky and David B. Weishampel (Cambridge University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds
    John Long (Oxford University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved
    Darren Naish and Paul Barrett (The Natural History Museum, 2016) Google Books →
  • Unearthing the Dragon: The Great Feathered Dinosaur Discovery
    Mark A. Norrell (Pi Press, 2005)
  • Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds
    John Pickrell (Columbia University Press, 2017) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b099v33p

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099v33p

Auto-category: 567 (Fossil reptiles and birds)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, hello. Until 20 years ago dinosaurs were widely assumed to be large lumpen lizards that became extinct millions of years ago.