posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 12:24 PM
New examinations of older materials seem to suggest that Archaeopteryx had wing-like feathers that were used in flight along its legs.
I found that the feather structure and arrangement indicated that they were used as lift-generating winglets, and calculated that these
structures could have significantly decreased both the stall speed and turning radius of the bird. The idea of a multi-winged Archaeopteryx has been
around for more than a century, but it hasn't recieved much attention, for several reasons. First, the feather impressions on the main slab, which
so impressed early workers, were prepared away.
A photo of a specimin before the leg-feathers were worked away:
Microraptor gui is a type of dino-bird that has 4-wings, as argued here for Archaeopteryx.
There is currently a great deal of debate over this relatively recently revived issue. Its certainly exciting to think that we migt've been mistaken
about something thats been out there for so long.
Some people are objecting to this as being accurate because they feel that archaeopteryx couldn't fly in the first place, or that it developed flight
from the 'ground up' model. In that model, running dinosaurs used proto-wings and flapping to give them bursts of speed. Clearly, using the legs
for that purpose would be difficult while running. While they're not denying that the feathers on the legs exist, they suggest that it aided the
aerodynamics of turning while running.
A very popular idea now with regards to the origins of flight is the Dr. Ken Dial's WAIR
(you've got to watch the video to beleive it). It seems to me at least that leg-wings would have the same problems in WAIR as in
Others, as is well known, suggest that arboreal dinosaurs developed wings and feathers to aid them in moneky-like or squirrel-like leaps from branch
to branch and tree to tree.
The ciation for Mr. Longrich's paper is:
Longrich, N. 2006. Structure and function of hindlimb feathers in Archaeopteryx lithographica
[edit on 24-9-2006 by Nygdan]