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A dinosaur with wings

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by claire, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. claire

    claire Registered User

  2. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Chinese researchers announced Wednesday the discovery of a feathered dinosaur that glided on four wings - a diminutive plumed dragon that could be a long-sought evolutionary link between dinosaurs and the first true birds.

    The discovery of the fossil remains of a 4 winged dinosaur, as the new creature is named, challenges the notion that dinosaurs evolved into birds from the ground up.

    Prevailing theory holds that feathered evolution began with small non-flying <a href="http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/saurischia/theropoda.html">theropods</a> equipped with feathers or feathery down (possibly for warmth), racing along on the forest floor and gradually attaining enough evolutionary attributes to achieve flight.

    The discovery of the 130 million year old <a href="http://www.startribune.com/images/embed/3608083_54031.html">Microraptor gui</a>, lends credence to the school of thought that flight may have been developed in the opposite direction - <b>from the tree tops down</b>.

    In addition to challenging conventional theory on dino/avian flight, the fossils, found in China's Liaoning Province, raise another interesting question for researchers to to ponder: could gliding and gravity influence the faster development of flight?

    And if not, is this discovery just an evolutionary dead-end; a branch with interesting attributes that ultimately came to a screeching halt?
     
  3. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    I read about this in a local rag this morning on the train -- very fascinating find. It makes more sense, to me, that birds would have evolved from the tree tops. I would think that gliding and achieving sustainable aerodynamic lift would have to come before developing the raw power to initiate flight. Afterall, airplanes are not designed to take off, they are designed to fly. The engines (and various flaps) are designed to enable take off, but without the aerodynamics for sustainable lift, there'd be no flight.
     

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