Weirdest prehistoric species ever seen - A four-winged dinosaur!


From China come some of the best preserved flying fossils in the world and periodic fakes, compilations of two different animals meant to appear as one. Has this been absolutely verified yet?

From the link I posted it’s going to be in Nature so I suppose everyone will have a chance to decide for themsleves, but I think papers for a journal as prestigious as Nature would be pretty throughly vetted for obvious fraud.

But only because the turduckin isn’t a real animal.

I want one! I want one! I want one!

Can someone arrange to send a bone or two off to the Raelians?

I’m still holding out for the days when Jackelopes can frolick freely again.

From the MSNBC article:

I’m not sure if it’s MSNBC making the “latest find tends to support” claim or not, but that seems awfully premature, given it is not known with any certainty where Microraptor fits in the dinosaurian family tree. IF it is ancestral to later birds, then that claim might be justified. If it is an evolutionary dead-end, which possibility was also mentioned in the article, then it lends no real support for the “trees down” theory.

I will have to check Nature’s site to see if the article is online yet…


More info: (With a nice pic of the fossil.)

Even better is that the paper itself (“Four-winged dinosaurs from China”) is available free online. Also of interest is the “news and views” article.

If you’re going to call feather covered rear legs “wings” then that feather covered tail is a wing too. So I count 5 wings.

“Microraptor gui”?

Did Bill have anything to do with this dinosaur? A pre-DOS effort at a graphic user interface?

The name of the discoverer is transliterated from the Chinese as Gu. Of course, to fit into the Linnaean nomencalture, they have to give it the Latin genetive ending. They decided that Gu was a second declension noun (if it had been Latin) and poof, it shows up as Gui.

According to the LA Times article an number of such fossils have been turned up by locals in the area and some fakes have been exposed. Outside scholars have also seen some of them and there is the Nature article. It is a fascinating story but still early in the process.

The scientific work will proceed and it will turn out to be something or else it won’t. In any case the creationists will pooh-pooh it and if it turns out to be not so spectacular as first thought it will be called another counterevolution “proof.”

According to the Nature article, there are six different fossils of this species, several of which show the feathered hind limbs. Some were collected by the scientists themselves, others were purchased from locals. The fossils have been examined microscopically and by X-ray. A couple have some missing chunks restored with glued-in extraneous pieces, but this does not affect the main part of the fossil itself. There is no question that these particular fossils are authentic.

Scientists and journals are being particularly careful now since it was discovered that Archeoraptor was composed of fossils of at least two different species that had been glued together. However, both of the original fossils were authentic and significant - it just turned out that Archeoraptor was not quite as bizarre as it originally seemed. But there are many other authenticated fossils of feathered dinosaurs and early birds from China.

Bad new for the jackelope fans :frowning:

Oh nooooo!!! :frowning: