Agriculture
Springing forward
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Got Milk? How?
Amphibians
Frogs and Toads
Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Clone Wars
Stunts for High-Diving Ants
Walks on the Wild Side
Behavior
Diving, Rolling, and Floating, Alligator Style
When Darwin got sick of feathers
Contemplating thought
Birds
Crows
Lovebirds
Robins
Chemistry and Materials
Cold, colder and coldest ice
Fog Buster
Makeup Science
Computers
Middle school science adventures
Programming with Alice
Fingerprint Evidence
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Mammals in the Shadow of Dinosaurs
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
Dino Takeout for Mammals
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Detecting an Eerie Sea Glow
Giving Sharks Safe Homes
Coral Gardens
Environment
Animal CSI or from Science Lab to Crime Lab
Saving Wetlands
The Oily Gulf
Finding the Past
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
If Only Bones Could Speak
Words of the Distant Past
Fish
Dogfish
Halibut
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Food and Nutrition
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
The Essence of Celery
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
GSAT English Rules
Capitalization Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Exam Preparation
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
Prime Time for Cicadas
Losing with Heads or Tails
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Human Body
Cell Phone Tattlers
Nature's Medicines
Sea Kids See Clearly Underwater
Invertebrates
Giant Squid
Sea Anemones
Daddy Long Legs
Mammals
Dogs
Goats
Platypus
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Children and Media
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
Einstein's Skateboard
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Speedy stars
Plants
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Fastest Plant on Earth
Seeds of the Future
Reptiles
Gila Monsters
Caimans
Cobras
Space and Astronomy
Slip-sliding away
A Family in Space
Super Star Cluster in the Neighborhood
Technology and Engineering
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Middle school science adventures
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
A Dire Shortage of Water
Arctic Melt
Add your Article

An Ancient Feathered Biplane

When the Wright Brothers lifted off at Kitty Hawk in 1903, they flew a plane with two sets of wings, one below the other. Their feat went down in history as the first successful flight by a heavier-than-air aircraft.

New evidence suggests that dinosaurs may have beaten the Wright Brothers to the punch in coming up with a biplane design.

Four years ago, paleontologists described a species of dinosaur from China called Microraptor gui. These dinos were about 3 feet long and feathered. They even had feathers on their legs and feet.

The leg feathers puzzled scientists. Some researchers proposed that the dinosaurs opened their legs into a split when they flew, creating a second set of wings behind the first. None of M. gui‘s closest relatives, however, had hips that were flexible enough to stretch out that far.

Now, two scientists have a new theory of how these creatures glided. Their model proposes that M. gui dangled its legs underneath its body while in the air. This would have created two sets of wings, one below and slightly behind the other. Biplanes that do aerobatic stunts have a similar design.

This drawing shows what the dinosaur might have looked like. The second set of wings (arrows in main image) created when this dinosaur dangled its feathered legs and feet below its body would have provided flight surfaces like those of a modern biplane. T

This drawing shows what the dinosaur might have looked like. The second set of wings (arrows in main image) created when this dinosaur dangled its feathered legs and feet below its body would have provided flight surfaces like those of a modern biplane. T

PNAS

The 19-centimeter-long feathers near the bottom of the animal’s legs support this theory, the scientists say. Their design would have helped keep the feathers from twisting as the dinosaur generated lift.

Based on this model, the scientists say that M. gui probably could not have survived a vertical fall from a tall tree. However, computer flight simulations show that, if the animal took a strong horizontal leap from a branch, its biplane wings could have carried it to other trees at least 40 meters (130 feet) away.

The technique would have made M. gui efficient in the air, but the dinosaurs were probably not very graceful on land. They did not have strong chest muscles, suggesting that they could not take off from the ground. And with such long leg feathers, the animals probably would have tripped all over themselves while walking.—E. Sohn

An Ancient Feathered Biplane
An Ancient Feathered Biplane








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™