Discovered: The Largest Flying Dinosaur Changyuraptor Yangi
The largest flying dinosaur ever known to live, Changyurapto, has been found in China. The ancient bird used four wings which added stability and control to its flight pretty much like the modern aircraft.
The flying dinosaur was about four feet long and palaeontologists believe that it weighed close to nine pounds.
Changyuraptor is believed to have lived on the Earth around 125 million years ago. The entire body of the animal was covered in feathers as shown by fossils.
Microraptorines basically have two true wings and with a pair of legs which are covered in feathers and acted like the tail stabilizers on an aircraft. These animals were related to velociraptors which were made famous in the movie Jurassic Park. This species is about 60% larger than the largest microraptorine known.
Tail feathers of Changyuraptor were almost 12 inches long which is one-quarter of the body length of the animal. These oversized feathers may have helped the animal to slow on descent, hence playing a pivotal role in landing. They are the longest-tail feathers ever known of any flying dinosaurs.
This new find could also suggest that flying dinosaurs took to the air before the birds evolved. The research team has expressed surprise over the flying capability of the dinosaur with large body structure. More research is needed to evaluate the factors contributing to the flight performance of microraptorines.
The fossil of this avian was found in the Liaoning Province of north-eastern China which has recently become a hotbed of new discoveries for palaeontologists. The area is so rich with fossil finds that farmers there are now making most of the discoveries as they work in their land. At the time this dinosaur lived, the area was a peninsula and was filled with active volcanoes and abundance of wildlife.
Anusuya Chinsamy from the University of Cape Town in South Africa conducted microanalysis of the fossil, showing that the animal was a fully-grown adult.
In the world of dinosaurs, raptors are known for being ferocious, fast and having sharp claws to slash open their prey.
The research team has declared affiliations with Paleontological Center, Bohai University in China and Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
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