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RE: 4 winged dino NOVA

Mike Habib wrote:

> Part of the trouble that has plagued many (most) Microraptor  
> reconstructions is that a great number of researchers seem dead set on  
> making the hind limbs somehow act as "standard" wings; that is,  
> lifting surfaces positioned to provide lift forces vertically against  
> weight in a steady glide, which is rather unlikely.

Agreed.  Furthermore, there is the assumption that gliding (including maximum 
glide path) was the raison d'etre behind the microraptoran "flight" apparatus.  
Why couldn't the principal function of the "wings" (all four of them) have been 
to control the descent to the ground?  Modern gliding mammals use gliding to 
commute from tree to tree, or branch to branch; but for microraptorans, this 
behavior was perhaps not a priority.  Based on their anatomy (especially the 
very few arboreal adaptations) microraptorans most probably used aerial 
locomotion to get from the trees to the ground.  In this context, increasing 
the glide path might have been beneficial, but it may not have been the 
overarching driving force behind microraptoran evolution.


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