Light & Verity

Feathered and fierce

A Peabody Museum dinosaur writ large on I-95.

Arnold Gold/New Haven Register

Arnold Gold/New Haven Register

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The Peabody Museum takes its educational mission seriously, even at 65 miles an hour.

For almost 20 years, an oil storage tank next to Interstate 95 in New Haven was adorned with a dinosaur painting—a detail from the Peabody’s grand Age of Reptiles mural (created in 1947 by Rudolph Zallinger ’42BFA, ’71MFA). Two years ago, the painting was removed for tank maintenance, so the Peabody decided to update its al fresco science.

“Zallinger’s iconic mural was based on cutting-edge science when it appeared. But we have learned a great deal in the last seven decades,” says Peabody director David Skelly. In September, the museum unveiled a new oil tank painting, designed by artist Bayla Arietta, depicting a feathered Deinonychus. Skelly (shown at left in front of the new image during installation) notes that the discovery of Deinonychus by late Peabody curator John Ostrom “prompted a renaissance in our understanding” about dinosaurs. “We very much hope that when travelers see the Deinonychus mural when they pass by, they will ask themselves, ‘That’s what a dinosaur looked like?’”

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