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Four-winged dinosaur was ‘evolutionary side branch’, research
Researchers discover largest four-winged dinosaur to date

Four-winged dinosaur was ‘evolutionary side branch’, research

Scientists have discovered the largest “four-winged” dinosaur, according to a new study.

The newfound predator has the longest feathers yet outside of birds. According to scientists, the findings yield insights on how dinosaurs may have flown.

The feathered dinosaur is 125-million-year-old and is named Changyuraptor yangi. It sports feathers over its body, including its arms and legs, which give an impression as if it had two pair of wings.

“They were so big, perfectly preserved… it was just amazing,” said Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute at the L.A. County Natural History Museum and co-author of a study on the feathers being published Tuesday.

He said these are the longest tail feathers ever seen on a dinosaur.

The 4-foot, 9-pound Changyuraptor lived about 125 million years ago. Not only was its tail adorned with a fan of long feathers, it also had plumage on its arms and legs.

Chiappe says these features likely allowed for complicated aerial moves.

“The tail functioned to control the pitch, that means to control when the animal was either nose up or nose down,” he said.

Chiappe said past research on other flying animals show such tails also help animals reduce speed when landing.

Donald Prothero has written numerous books on prehistoric animals. He wasn’t involved with this study, but he says it adds to a growing body of research on the origins of flight in birds.

“It suggests that flight goes back to before birds, long before birds actually.”

He says there is still plenty of debate though on whether or not these dinosaurs used their feathers just for gliding or if they were able to launch themselves into the air from the ground.


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