NOVA; Four Winged Dinosaur, The
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- Four Winged Dinosaur, The
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Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974
- Program Description
In 2002, the discovery of a beautiful and bizarre fossil astonished scientists and reignited the debate over the origin of flight. With four wings and superbly preserved feathers, the 130 million-year-old creature was like nothing paleontologists had ever seen before.
In this program, NOVA travels to the Chinese stone quarry where the fossil was discovered to perform an unorthodox experiment: a wind tunnel flight test of a scientific replica of the ancient oddity.
Dubbed Microraptor, the crow-sized fossil is one of the smallest dinosaurs ever found and one of the most controversial, challenging conventional theories and assumptions about the evolution of flight. To answer these questions, NOVA interviews Chinese paleontologist Xu Xing, who first recognized the importance of Microraptor and gave it its name; paleontologist Mark Norell and artist Mick Ellison of the American Museum of Natural History; paleontologist Larry Martin of the University of Kansas; anatomist Farish Jenkins of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University; and aerodynamicist Kenny Breuer of Brown University.
In addition, NOVA commissions a "flight-ready" wind tunnel model of Microraptor complete with feathers and articulating joints.
As seen in this program, the American Museum's Mark Norell is one of the proponents of the "birds-are-dinosaurs" hypothesis, which is the predominant view among most paleontologists, while Larry Martin of the University of Kansas speaks out for the minority view that birds descended from non-dinosaur tree dwellers.
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- Chicago: “NOVA; Four Winged Dinosaur, The,” 01/23/2008, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed July 22, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_FE489D01433B4FFCA3920F5201966A8D.
- MLA: “NOVA; Four Winged Dinosaur, The.” 01/23/2008. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. July 22, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_FE489D01433B4FFCA3920F5201966A8D>.
- APA: NOVA; Four Winged Dinosaur, The. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_FE489D01433B4FFCA3920F5201966A8D