Jul. 18th, 2014

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Changyuraptor yangi, unearthed in 2012 and officially published three days ago, is the largest-known Microraptorine dinosaur found to date. At four feet long and with an estimated weight of nine pounds, this eagle-sized theropod also possessed hollow bones, four wings, and very long tail feathers, and gives every indication of being capable of gliding flight. Those long tail feathers are the longest known for any dinosaur species, and likely would have been used to steer and also to break the creature's fall as it came to a landing, as its large size would have required more braking power than smaller flighted dinosaurs.

The two in my illustration are juvenile siblings - fully-grown, but still mentally immature. Many modern birds of prey at this age play-fight, as these two are seen doing, as they hone their balance, flying, and other skills that will later help them capture their own food.

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Lauren Helton

September 2014

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