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Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan on Team That Has Discovered 125-million-year-old Dinosaur

Famous Dinosaurs of AfricaAnusuya Chinsamy-Turan, who recently published a new edition of Famous Dinosaurs of Africa, is part of an international team that has discovered a 125-million-year-old microraptor in China, Sarah Wild reports for the Mail & Guardian.

The changyuraptor is the largest known four winged dinosaur and its will help to shed light on how dinosaurs flew, John Yeld writes in the Cape Argus.

“We propose that its long tail – 30cm – helped to keep it airborne and could have assisted with landing,” Chinsamy-Turan says of the feathered dinosaur.

It must be one of the strangest creatures the world has ever seen, and, considering the existence of the woolly mammoth and the platypus, that’s saying something.

An international team of experts, including Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan from the University of Cape Town, has discovered a small, feathered dinosaur with four wings and a long tail. Discovered in the Liaoning province in China, the 125-million-year-old microraptor sheds light on how dinosaurs flew, long before birds as we know them existed.

Fine feathers don’t necessarily make fine birds, they say – but a new dinosaur species has been discovered by an international team of scientists who say its very long tail feathers may well have been used for regulating flight, and are therefore evidence of its bird-like ability.

The team, led by by palaeontologist Luis Chiappe, of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in the US, and including UCT palaeobiologist Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, say that the animal’s long-feathered tail was probably useful in assuring a safe landing – much like the flaps on a fixed-wing aircraft.

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