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Re: Changyuraptor, new big microraptorine theropod from Early Cretaceous of China



"The lengthy feathered tail of the new fossil provides insight into
the flight performance of microraptorines and how they may have
maintained aerial competency at larger body sizes."

Oh, good. Glad they've ruled out display as a function of extremely
long tail feathers. Or even extremely long leg feathers. We can't
consider that on-flight-performance related factors may influence
these structures, since they are so clearly only about flight, can we?
Not to sound too sarcastic, but if that's in the abstract...

And why _Nature_? Yes, why _Nature Comm._?

On Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 8:17 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
>
> A new paper:
>
> Gang Han, Luis M. Chiappe, Shu-An Ji, Michael Habib, Alan H. Turner,
> Anusuya Chinsamy, Xueling Liu & Lizhuo Han (2014)
> A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides
> insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance.
> Nature Communications 5, Article number: 4382
> doi:10.1038/ncomms5382
> http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140715/ncomms5382/full/ncomms5382.html
>
>
> Microraptorines are a group of predatory dromaeosaurid theropod
> dinosaurs with aerodynamic capacity. These close relatives of birds
> are essential for testing hypotheses explaining the origin and early
> evolution of avian flight. Here we describe a new ‘four-winged’
> microraptorine, Changyuraptor yangi, from the Early Cretaceous Jehol
> Biota of China. With tail feathers that are nearly 30 cm long, roughly
> 30% the length of the skeleton, the new fossil possesses the longest
> known feathers for any non-avian dinosaur. Furthermore, it is the
> largest theropod with long, pennaceous feathers attached to the lower
> hind limbs (that is, ‘hindwings’). The lengthy feathered tail of the
> new fossil provides insight into the flight performance of
> microraptorines and how they may have maintained aerial competency at
> larger body sizes. We demonstrate how the low-aspect-ratio tail of the
> new fossil would have acted as a pitch control structure reducing
> descent speed and thus playing a key role in landing.
>
> News stories:
>
> http://www.slate.com/blogs/wild_things/2014/07/15/largest_flying_dinosaur_four_wings_on_changyuraptor_kept_it_from_crash_landing.html



-- 
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff: http://qilong.wordpress.com/


"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth" - P. B. Medawar (1969)