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Birds of Paradise: Some Assembly Required

October 15, 2013

Originally posted on NC Museum of Natural Sciences Exhibits Blog:

By Helen Chappell

Our newest exhibition, Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution, landed in the special exhibition gallery this week. To prepare for its opening this past Sunday, October 13, we’ve been busy getting the gallery ready, unpacking the crates, and putting it all together.

Birds of Paradise is an exhibition all about these strange and wonderful birds and how researchers study them. Through sexual selection, birds-of-paradise have evolved incredible and sometimes downright bizarre plumage displays and courtship dances, sometimes looking more like fantastical sculptures than living creatures. Think peacocks turned up to eleven.

The exhibition grew out of a collaboration between an ornithologist and a nature photographer, so it’s beautiful as well as scientifically rich. One of the most striking parts of the exhibition, at least in my opinion, is a simple art gallery that showcases Tim Laman’s photographs of different birds-of-paradise species. The birds are so fabulous…

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