Saturday, September 26, 2009

Holy Four-Winged Dinosaur, Batman!

A fossil of a bird-like dinosaur with four wings has been discovered in northeastern China, bridging a critical gap in the transition from dinosaurs to birds while revealing new insights into the origin evolution of feathers. The transition from dinosaurs to birds is poorly understood because of the lack of well-preserved fossils, and many scientists argue that bird-like dinosaurs appear too late in the fossil record to be the true ancestors of birds.

In Nature this week, Xing Xu and colleagues describe an exceptionally well-preserved fossil of Anchiornis huxleyi from the province of Liaoning. Long feathers cover the arms and tail, but also the feet, suggesting that a four-winged stage may have existed in the transition to birds.

More here.

Images by Xing Xu

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