A four-winged dinosaur might sound like something straight out of He-Man, but they were actually real and pretty cool. They’re also extremely useful since we’re able to use their bones to try and figure out how feathered dinosaurs became birds.
The latest discovery has been named Changyuraptor yang and was found in Liaoning, China. The four-winged gliding predator had tail feathers measuring up to 30cm, which is the longest of any non-avian dinosaur. The feathers on this bad boy allowed it to better control its flight so it could slow down and land more safely than other gliders.
It was originally thought that these four-winged gliders were an evolutionary stepping stone to two-winged flight, but scientists have discovered that microraptorines ( the four-winged gliders ) are an evolutionary side-branch.
The skeleton of this fascinating creature was discovered by a team from Bohai University, China, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, US and measures 132 cm from snout to the tip of its tail feathers. For reference that makes it longer than an eagle or albatross and makes it the largest four-winged dino ever found.
Unfortunately it wasn’t long enough to ride, but seeing one of these things flying about must’ve been awesome and probably terrifying.
Images and Story Via BBC
Featured Image Via Scientific American