NBC News -- The largest "four-winged" dinosaur known has been found, and this
predator has the longest feathers yet outside of birds, researchers say. This new finding yields insights on how dinosaurs may have flown, the scientists added.
The 125-million-year-old feathered dinosaur, named Changyuraptor yangi, sported feathers over its body, including its arms and legs, which made it look as if it had two pairs of wings. Its fossil was unearthed in 2012 in
"The vast majority of feathered dinosaurs in
The newfound dinosaur is a microraptorine, a group of predatory, feathered dinosaurs related to Velociraptor and other well-known raptor dinosaurs. Analysis of the microscopic structure of this fossil's bones reveal it was a fully grown adult — a younger specimen's bones would have signs they were still developing.
"Microraptorines are thought to be very close cousins of birds, sharing a common raptor ancestor," Chiappe told Live Science. "It's not known yet whether a four-wing body is something unique to microraptorines, or something the common ancestor of birds and microraptorines had, that was later lost in the bird lineage."
The researchers estimate 4-foot-long (1.2 meter) Changyuraptor weighed about 9 lbs. (4 kilograms), making it the largest four-winged dinosaur found yet, and at least 60 percent larger than the largest microraptorine specimen found previously, Chiappe said.
When Changyuraptor was alive, the area in which it lived "was a broad peninsula or wedge into the ocean, with volcanoes," Chiappe said.
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