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November 25, 2018 Dinner Meeting

Event: Victoria Canada China Friendship Association

Dinner Meeting

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Location: Island Wok Restaurant, 801 Vernon Ave.

Topic: The Feathered Fossils of China

Speaker: Gary Kaiser, Research Associate, Royal B.C. Museum

For the past 30 years, a flood of small, feathered fossils from China has changed the way the world sees dinosaurs. Until their appearance, we knew relatively few small dinosaurs and paleontologists tended to focus on the spectacularly large species that fill many of the world’s museums. No new types of feathered fossil had been found since Archaeopteryx had been discovered in Germany, 150 years ago.

The new fossils have changed all that and helped to expand our understanding of life in the Mesozoic, making the evolution of birds easier to understand. Dinosaurs are no longer giant sluggards, too stupid and lazy to avoid extinction. The group includes many small, feathered animals from Liaoning and other sites in China that led active lives and were likely warm-blooded. Some of the very small species grade smoothly into the true flying birds that we see all around us today. By the time the large dinosaurs went extinct, those small flyers had spread across the globe.

Gary Kaiser is a marine bird biologist who lives on Canada’s west coast. From 1968 until 1999 he was the senior populations biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, concentrating on migrant sandpipers and colonial seabirds. Before retirement, he contributed to the Birds of British Columbia, Seabirds of the Russian Far East and many shorter research papers and technical reports. After retirement he applied his knowledge of birds to studies of their origin and evolution. He published The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution in 2007 and co-edited Living Dinosaurs in 2011. His latest projects have experimented with inexpensive e books and he published Marbled Murrelet: Little lord of the BC’s fiords in 2012 and Feathered Life in 2018.

Feathered Life tracks the long history of feathered animals in the dinosaur lineage from early efforts to exploit the third dimension by standing on hind legs or gliding from tree to tree on feathered wings. Finally, flapping flight gave their descendants complete mastery of the air but it was not their only accomplishment. The amazing survival and success of birds also reflects an ability to modify aspects of behaviour that improve efficiency and the ability to adapt to changing conditions.


Island Wok Restaurant is located at 801 Vernon Ave., in the Saanich Plaza.

Please arrive at 5:45pm. Buffet Dinner starts at 6pm. The presentation begins at 7pm.

$22 for members and non-members. Cash or cheque only please.

RSVP: by Wednesday, November 21, 2018.

Please email Jennifer Calder at: or Lisa Bengston at: or phone Lisa at 250-995-2307.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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