Newly Discovered Dinosaur Had Four Wings and Ability to Fly

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Dinosaurs have been at the crossroads of science and pop culture for decades now, especially with the book Jurassic Park and the film of the same name.

One of the biggest theories of the dinosaur pop culture/scientific phenomenon is that dinosaurs were the pathway towards birds. It was a theme throughout the Jurassic Park franchise and now scientists have found a dinosaur that did attain flight.

The Washington Post states that scientists have now discovered a new fossil of a dinosaur coined Changyuraptor yangi. The dinosaur, found in the northeast region of the Chinese province of Liaoning, was able to fly, using its four -yes, four – wings. According to lead researcher Luis Chiappe of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the dinosaur’s wings had the longest feathers of any dinosaur. No wonder it’s name includes the word “Changyu,” which means “long-feathered.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “It is a stunning specimen and it was stunning to see the size of the feathers. This is the dinosaur with the longest known feathers – by far.” Chiappe noted that the feathers were “one-fourth the size of the animal.”

The dinosaur was small, only around four feet long and nine pounds in weight, according to an article by Chiappe and his colleagues. But, as the article states, the dinosaur’s classification as a “microraptorine” makes its fossils great for tests to find the origin and evolution of avian flight.

The Changyuraptor yangi flew and landed using its feathered tail. The tail, states the article, was “instrumental for decreasing descent speed and assuring a safe landing.” The landing has been described as something similar to a planes.

What do you think about this new discovery in the world of dinosaur study? Do you have any opinions on the topic of dinosaur and bird flight? Write your scientific queries in the comments section below or on the GEEK Facebook page! 

Image: Stephanie Abramowicz, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

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