Fossil of four-winged dinosaur found
A remarkable fossil of a feathered dinosaur with four wings has been unearthed in China by scientists who believe the discovery proves that avian flight originated in the trees.
The dinosaur, called Microraptor gui, lived about 125 million years ago and its wing-like hind limbs – the first to be found in any vertebrate – and feathered tail were almost certainly used for gliding from one tree to another.
A team led by Dr Xing Xu of the Chinese Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeanthropology in Beijing discovered six specimens of the species in the rich fossil beds of China's Liaoning Province.
In a study published in the journal Nature, Dr Xu argues that the feathered hind limbs would have made it difficult for the metre-long dinosaur to walk on the ground so it probably lived almost exclusively in trees. The scientists suggest the dinosaur almost certainly represents an intermediate stage between its flightless ancestors and fully-powered flight using two flapping wings.
Dr Richard Prum, a fossil specialist at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, said that Microraptor gui could have glided straight out of the pages of a fanciful account of four-winged beasts published in 1915. The feathers on the dinosaur are asymmetrical, just like those of modern birds, suggesting the animal could fly. It is doubtful, however, that Microraptor could flap all four limbs in way that would permit powered flight, Dr Prum said.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...