'Flying' Dino Had 4 Wings, Long Feathers

Turkey-sized raptor may have been expert glider

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 16, 2014 4:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Take the velociraptors made famous by Jurassic Park, make them a bit smaller, add feathers, then change the limbs to wings and you will have something resembling a newly discovered dinosaur species found in China. Researchers say Changyuraptor yangi, a carnivore that lived around 125 million years ago, has the longest feathers ever found outside birds, to which it is very closely related. It's a lot bigger than any other "four-winged" dinosaur species known, reports NBC News.

Researchers compare the creature, which was around 4 feet long and weighed about 9 pounds, to "a mid-sized turkey with a very long tail" and say that while it probably couldn't fly the way modern birds do, it could flap its wings and the feathers would have helped it land safely despite its size. "So this does raise the possibility they could glide or 'fly' in a primitive sort of way," a paleontologist tells Reuters. "The way I like to think of it is: if you pushed them out of a tree, they'd fall pretty slowly." (Another newly discovered dinosaur had bony "wings" on its head.)

An artist's impression of the newly discovered raptor.
An artist's impression of the newly discovered raptor.   (S. Abramowicz/Dinosaur Institute)
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