Feathers and Scales

Feathers and Scales

IN THIS EXHIBIT

ANIMALS

Andean Condor

Blue Poison Frog

Cape Thick-knee

Gambel's Quail

Roadrunner

Sungazer

  • Andean Condor
  • Blue Poison Frog
  • Cape Thick-knee
  • Gambel's Quail
  • Roadrunner
  • Sungazer

Creatures scuttle, swim, slither, even spring into flight as you walk through the Feathers and Scales exhibit. Listen closely to hear the water trickle near the preening trumpeter hornbills. Spy a rainbow boa constrictor resting under a bed of moss.

After a moment, you might find that all the tranquility has gotten you pondering…what are birds and reptiles doing in the same house anyway? Before long, though, you’ll discover that these animals go way, way back!

In fact, both can be traced to the age of the dinosaur. Now, that’s a family history. And certainly a lineage that’s easy to pick out in the resemblance between dinosaurs and say a lizard. However, tiny birds are indeed modern dinosaurs, too— with forelimbs modified for flight, air sacs, and hollow bones.

Birds and reptiles have a variety of other curious things in common. If you take a close look in the desert exhibit at the back of Feathers and Scales, you’ll find a mottled brown and black bird, the burrowing owl. It actually hisses like a rattlesnake to protect its nest.


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Conservation Fund of the Chicago Zoological Society