Flying dino had long, feathery tail

Stephanie Abramowicz, Dinosaur Institute, NHM

Flying dino had long, feathery tail

Please welcome the latest member of the growing club of flying dinosaurs, Changyuraptor yangi, pictured here in an artist’s reconstruction. This latest specimen, found in 125-million-year-old sediments in northeastern China, was about 1.2 meters long and is related to a noted group of flying dinosaurs called Microraptor, which has provided important insights into the evolution of powered flight. Like Microraptor, the new specimen had feathers on all four limbs; but its feathery tail, which takes up about 30% of its total length, is the longest known among flying dinosaurs. Changyuraptor, described online today in Nature Communications, weighed 4 kilograms, making it among the heaviest flying dinosaurs known. As for its long tail, the dino probably used it to slow itself down when descending, thus avoiding crash landings.

Posted in Paleontology